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Legislation may pave way for malpractice evidence

Arizona residents who will be undergoing surgical procedures may soon gain the ability to use video recordings as evidence in subsequent treatment error proceedings. If the state follows in the footsteps of others, like Wisconsin and New York, patients could be given the right to request that their surgeries be recorded in advance. Analysts say that the videos might both serve as study materials for medical practitioners seeking to reduce the incidence of errors as well as an indication of malpractice.

The proposed Wisconsin legislation would require hospitals to ask surgery patients if they want their procedures to be recorded. Such providers would also have to honor the wishes of patients who requested such recordings via advanced directives and similar documents. A comparable New York law seeks to install black-box recording devices in all operating theaters.

However, some medical groups have pushed back because they don't want video evidence to be used against them in court. It remains to be seen whether the New York and Wisconsin bills will pass, but increased public awareness of medical malpractice may end up being one of the determining factors.

Surgical negligence encompasses a broad range of mistakes and oversights. It can include everything from leaving sponges inside a wound or operating on the wrong organ to administering drugs that lead to the painful death of a patient. Injured victims, however, are often saddled with high medical bills and other adverse circumstances. Many seek the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney when seeking to receive compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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