New surgical ‘black box’ could minimize mistakes made in operations

A new surgical device could minimize the number of mistakes made by surgeons in operating rooms that often result in serious consequences for patients.

When patients in Michigan go in for an operation, they often put their complete trust in the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals attending to them. However, healthcare providers make thousands of surgery errors that threaten their patients' lives and health every year. According to Medical News Today, approximately 4,000 surgical mistakes, or "never events," occur in operating rooms in the U.S. annually. To prevent these harmful errors, researchers in Canada are working on a surgical 'black box' that could significantly reduce the number of mistakes made in surgery.

How does the device work?

According to CNN, this device records a surgeon's movements and then identifies any mistakes that were made during the operation. Outside of the operating room:

  • A small computer-like device analyzes footage of the operation.
  • The computer identifies if any mistakes were made.
  • Instant feedback is provided to surgeons as they operate.

Inside of the operating room, cameras track every movement that the surgeon makes and then provides this footage to the device located outside of the room. In the future, the box will be able to assess things like how surgeons stitch, how they communicate with nurses during high-stress situations and how they handle organs.

When will it come to the U.S?

Over the next few months, this box will be tested in hospitals in Canada, parts of South Africa and Denmark. Currently, talks are occurring regarding when this device will be implemented in hospitals in the U.S. Once the decision is made for it be used in U.S. hospitals, its execution could occur quickly since it is not considered a medical device and does not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration. However, some say that surgeons may be hesitant to use this device while they operate because its presence could make them so nervous that they make preventable errors.

Surgeons often don't recognize their mistakes

Although some believe that surgeon negligence would be more likely to occur if this new device is present in operating rooms, many medical professionals do not realize when they have made an error during an operation. According to CNN, surgeons make approximately 20 mistakes in every operation they perform, regardless of their experience level, and recognize few of them.

When a surgeon in Michigan makes a mistake during surgery, the patient may experience consequences that harms his or her ability to return to work, school or the activities he or she used to participate in. If a medical professional provided you with negligent care during an operation, speak with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: surgical, mistake, error, malpractice