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Wisconsin legislature mulling bill to allow recording of surgery

Proposed legislation in Wisconsin would allow patients to film any surgery or medical procedure which they may undergo. The law would require the medical service provider to offer all patients the option of recording what happens in the operating theater. Although many conjecture that this would lead to fewer cases of surgical error, major Wisconsin medical advocacy groups have spoken out against the proposed legislation.

According to the bill, citizens would also be able to issue advance directives requiring videotaping of any medical procedures in the case of their incapacity. The data from this recorder would be useful for several reasons. The doctors and medical team could review the recording later, seeking answers for unusual circumstances that may have occurred during the procedure. If there is some sort of surgical error or easily preventable negative outcome from the surgery, then any tape may also be reviewed by the patient and their legal counsel.

However, major groups such as the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association have stated a willingness to oppose the bill as it moves through the legislature. The groups appear to feel that recordings would expose the doctors to unacceptable levels of legal liability without improving treatment procedures well enough to be worth it. Experts also point out that modern recording technology is limited and may not be able to show exactly what happened.

A lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice litigation might be of assistance to a victim of a surgical error. Although a video record of the procedure may not exist, the lawyer could attempt to demonstrate negligence through a review of the patient's hospital records and the opinions of medical experts.

Source: National Law Review, "Are Recorded Surgeries the Future of Medical Malpractice Investigation and Medical Error Prevention?", Michael Ksiazek, July 29, 2015

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