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Proposed legislation to mandate operating room cameras

Many hospital patients in North Carolina and around the country are injured as a result of surgical errors. However, it is not always easy for patients to find out what went wrong during their surgery, especially if the operating room staff does not report the mistakes. In response to this problem, representative Christine Sinicki of Wisconsin is trying to pass new legislation that would give patients the option of having their surgeries recorded.

The bill that Rep. Sinicki introduced is named after a 38-year-old woman who died while undergoing breast augmentation surgery. The woman's death resulted from an excessive dose of an anesthetic called propofol. A similar bill in New York called 'Raina's Law" was named after a 19-year-old woman who went into respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest as a result of an error in anesthesia administration.

While the New York bill is attempting to make audio and video recordings a requirement during all surgeries, the Wisconsin bill would give patients the option of having their surgeries videotaped. Under the Wisconsin bill, health care facilities would be obligated to provide patients with the option of a videotaped surgery. Patients would also be allowed to create advance health care directives instructing caregivers to make sure that all of their surgeries were videotaped.

Opponents of Sinicki's bill include the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Many doctors are concerned that operating room cameras would result in litigation. While an operating room recording has the potential to provide injured patients with strong evidence of hospital negligence, it is not the only way to prove a doctor's liability. A lawyer can assist by conducting a thorough investigation of the patient's hospital records and obtaining testimony from a medical expert.

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