Video equipment is hardly a rarity in the modern OR, but a proposed law in the Wisconsin state legislature would put the presence of such devices on the books. Wisconsin Assembly Bill 863 gives patients the legal authority to insist that their surgeries be recorded on video, which advocates argue will improve patient safety and provide valuable evidence in the event of medical error.
Currently cosponsored by four Democrats and two Republicans, the bill was largely inspired by the experiences of state residents who felt stymied in their efforts to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits because there were scant records of procedures.
Chris Nowakowski, whose wife died on the operating table during a procedure meant to repair a malfunctioning pacemaker, told WITI-TV that his attempt to pursue legal action against the hospital was effectively halted by his attorney because of the dearth of indisputable records of the procedure.
“A single basic camera would easily answer the question of how long was my wife bleeding internally without any kind of surgical support,” Nowakowski insists.
The medical community in the state is pushing back against the proposal.
Clyde “Bud” Chumbley, MD, CEO of the Wisconsin Medical Society, suggests the proposed law is an overreaction.
“It seems to me to be somewhat of an emotional response to some bad outcomes,” Chumbley told WITI. “It seems to me that people aren’t looking down the road at unintended consequences, and they haven’t really thought this through.”
Chumbley speculates the presence of cameras largely intended for surveillance purposes would hamper communication between members of the surgical team.
The bill is early in the legislative process, currently making its way through necessary committees. It’s believed the law would be the first of its kind in the nation.
Filed Under: Industry regulations