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Surgical black box evidence and malpractice

Patients in New York and other states may be interested to learn about proposed changes in the way surgeries are documented. A law proposed in Wisconsin could soon give patients the right to request that their surgeries be recorded. In addition to potentially serving as evidence in later legal actions, such surgery videos could provide a valuable source of information that helps medical practitioners learn from their mistakes. If the proposed legislation is enacted, patients who undergo multiple procedures, such as the elderly or terminally ill, may be able to stipulate that all their surgeries are recorded by creating advance directives.

Some medical practitioners in Wisconsin are fighting back against the proposed changes. News reports say that doctors who disagree with the idea are worried that the information revealed in such recordings could be held against them in subsequent legal proceedings.

Analysts point out that the existence of recordings may not account for patients whose negative surgical results have nothing to do with poor care procedures. Legal experts also note, however, that giving patients the right to request recordings may help counter public perception that caregivers are avoiding responsibility for their mistakes.

Surgical mistakes can result in injuries that worsen the patient's condition. In some cases, they may lead to the death of patients who undergo procedures they believe to be relatively low risk. Although devices like surgical black boxes have a chance to increase the availability of evidence that can be used in medical malpractice lawsuits, their adoption may not be uniform or even widespread. Patients who want to pursue remedies following medical injuries may find it advisable to discuss their case with a medical malpractice attorney.

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