Surgical ‘black box’ could prevent mistakes made in operating rooms

A new surgical recording device could prevent the harmful mistakes that surgeons make in operating rooms on a regular basis.

When patients in Michigan go in for an operation, they expect that the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals attending to them will provide them with attentive care. However, according to WebMD, surgery errors, often referred to as "never events" because they should never happen in surgery, still occur in operating rooms each year.

To prevent surgeons from making mistakes that lead to severe consequences for their patients, CNN states that researchers in Canada are working on a surgical "black box" that can track the movements of surgeons and identify when medical professionals have made an error during an operation.

How this technology works

This new technology consists of several different parts that are used both inside and outside of operating rooms. Outside of operating rooms, a small computer:

  • Analyzes recordings
  • Identifies any mistakes that were made
  • Provides instant feedback to surgeons

Inside of operating rooms, several different cameras track the movements of surgeons and then provide this footage to the computer located outside of the room. Not only can this technology be used to prevent foreign objects from being left behind in patients' bodies and prevent other mistakes from occurring, but the information this device collects can help surgeons evaluate their performance and improve their skills.

Why these systems are necessary

Surgical recording boxes like this one could be a valuable tool in operating rooms because surgeons often do not recognize when they have made a mistake, states CNN. Although this technology has the potential to prevent harmful surgical errors, some are still opposed to it. For example, some say that if it became a legal requirement for all surgical operations to be recorded, surgeons may become so nervous to perform surgeries that they would end up harming patients.

The black box's future

Over the course of the next few months, these surgical black boxes will be tested in operating rooms in parts of South America, Denmark and Canada. Discussions are also occurring with American hospitals over whether or not that this technology will be implemented. If the decision for these devices to be used is made, the implementation of this technology in the U.S. will occur quickly. This is because this technology does not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration because the black box is not a medical device, states CNN.

However, since this technology is not used in operating rooms quite yet, patients remain at risk for surgical errors that can result in severe complications and disabilities. If a surgeon provided you with negligent care during an operation, speak with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: malpractice, surgery, error, negligence