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Could Video Cameras in the OR Prevent Wrong-Site Surgery?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 14, 2011

Wrong site surgeries and procedures happen as many as 40 times each week in U.S. hospitals, Joint Commission safety experts acknowledged in a recent teleconference.

Of course, most of these wrong site procedures go unreported, because not all states have laws requiring notification. And many may be less consequential and more easily remedied, for example, arthroscopic surgery of the wrong knee, as opposed to removal of the wrong kidney.

But some of these errors are very serious and so, serious prophylactic actions must be taken. 

Could video recording surgeries be a solution?

It appears that some healthcare providers are considering this idea to identify errors, or at least earmark flaws in their processes, that could lead to wrong site surgery.

Then again, using video cameras to record surgeries may be an idea that has the potential of going too far.

Massachusetts Rep. Martin Walsh, D-Dorchester, has introduced a bill he calls "Leona's Law" which would require hospitals to allow a licensed medical videographer to record a patient's surgery – at the patient's or family's request – or face a $10,000 fine. The patient or family – not the hospital – would have to foot the bill.

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