Should We Record Operating Room Procedures?

It’s a debate that’s intensifying as victims of medical malpractice and wrong-site surgeries are demanding to know what happened in the operating room that caused the medical errors. The topic has been broached on blog. Interestingly, the author of the blog post is a surgeon himself. In the post, Dr. Martin Young notes that airline pilots have cockpit flight recorders that record their work. So, why shouldn’t surgeons have their procedures recorded and/or videotaped to ensure transparency and review for errors? It would seem a logical question to ask if the medical community is interested in reducing instances of medical malpractice and medical errors.
Dale Ann Micalizzi is the mother of an 11-year old boy who died during a routine surgical procedure in a hospital in Albany. She left a comment on the blog post that is well worth quoting:
“I believe in real time recorded surgical procedures for educational and ethical reasons and I think they will fix some of the wrong site surgeries that are continuing to occur. Staff will think…or check… twice and hopefully an open dialogue will result. The patient and family deserves to see the recording-all recordings and become actively involved in the root cause analysis when things go wrong. No, the recordings should not be edited just as medical records are not supposed to be edited. There are still bugs to work out to make this system idea work efficiently. This is not big brother watching you. It is a safety monitor. In the future world of IT, the recording and records would belong to the patient.”
Her argument makes sense and would afford her and countless others a sense of what went wrong during the surgical procedure.