Wisconsin Legislator Introduces Bill Requiring Hospitals to Offer Recordings in Operating Rooms
Published on August 11, 2015
We recently told you about a surgical “black box” that could help reduce surgical errors – that is, if doctors and hospitals decide to implement it. But one state lawmaker isn’t willing to wait for hospitals to make the decision. She wants patients to be able to decide. Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) introduced a bill that would require hospitals to offer patients the option of having their surgeries videotaped. This would help both patients who fall victim of medical malpractice and surgical errors, or doctors who want to defend themselves.
The bill would be named after Julie Ayer Rubenzer who stopped breathing in September 2003 while undergoing surgery at a doctor’s office in Florida. Julie was given an excessive amount of the anesthetic propofol during surgery. Julie’s family has been pushing for a change that will hold doctors accountable and prevent any family from going through what they’ve experienced. After more than 10 years, their voices have been heard. The Wisconsin bill would allow patients the option of having their surgeries recorded for an additional fee. It would then be treated like any other medical record.
Julie’s bill is similar to a proposed New York bill called Raina’s law – named after a 19-year-old who went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during surgery after doctors improperly administered anesthesia in failing to consider her height and weight, improperly monitored her vital signs, excessively inflated her abdomen causing cardiac arrest, and removed a breathing tube prematurely. This left young Raina in a vegetative state, unable to speak and unable to walk. The New York bill sought to require cameras in all operating rooms.
The amount of surgical errors happening per year is difficult to quantify, as many errors go undetected. However, a Johns Hopkins malpractice study shows that surgical ‘never events’ – events that medical professionals agree should never happen during surgery – occur at least 4,000 times per year.
Will “black box” technology and Wisconsin’s new bill ensure surgical errors and medical mistakes won’t happen to you? Not necessarily. However, the technology will ensure that when mistakes do happen, you have the proof you need to hold doctors accountable. In our opinion, that alone makes an additional fee well worth it.
Knapp & Roberts are expert medical malpractice attorneys in Arizona. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a surgical error or other type of medical malpractice, call us immediately. Legal time limits in Arizona restrict the window of opportunity to file civil malpractice charges. Don’t take a chance on losing your right to a monetary recovery for your damages. Contact us today at 480-991-7677 for a free, no-obligation case analysis. We assume all financial risk and you pay nothing unless we obtain a monetary settlement or verdict in your case.
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