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Surgical “Black Box” in Development to Prevent Medical Errors

A Toronto hospital is working on developing a device that seeks to protect patients in the operating room. The system, detailed in a recent article in Forbes, would be installed in operating rooms in order to cut down on surgical errors. It would consist of a number of microphones and cameras that are poised to track and record the movements and communications within the room.

The “black box” could be used to analyze and interpret the data that is received by the cameras and identify mistakes or potential errors before they happen. This would not only be able to help prevent them but also identify where a mistake was made in retrospect. The idea for such a device came as a result of analyzing surgical errors and how they affected patient health as a result. The findings of a study showed that even the most experienced surgeons make about 20 mistakes per procedure. The research was conducted on 40 laparoscopic surgical procedures. While some of these errors go unnoticed and cause no further complications, some can be detrimental to patient health.

Often times there are no easy methods to correctly identify the cause of a complication. After surgery, it is difficult to know if a complication was the result of a mistake or an initial patient condition, or whether the mistake would have been preventable. This box would not be used only to review procedures after a surgery; the device could also warn surgeons during procedures if it detects that the standard of care is not being followed.

The device is set for testing in Canada, Denmark, and some South American countries. There is some talk of expansion in the U.S. in the near future. As it is not a medical device, the “black box” would not require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Medical errors can cause serious and lasting damage to patients. When a surgeon or medical professional fails to follow established guidelines, serious complications can arise that can sometimes prove fatal. While a surgical “black box” would likely make it easier to determine if a preventable error caused a given complication, there are other ways to make this determination. If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice or negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Lopez McHugh medical malpractice attorneys are experienced in handling this type of litigation and can help in seeking justice for injured individuals. Contact a qualified medical mistake attorney today at (877) 737–8525.