Could ‘Black Boxes’ Reduce Surgical Errors?

By Peter DePaolis

Sadly, about 4,000 Americans are killed each year through “never events” that occur during surgery and black boxes could help reduce this.

Introducing “Black Boxes” in Operating Rooms May Reduce Errors

Journalists describe these events as situations where there is a professional agreement that they should never happen during a surgery, including events where items are left in patients, arteries are severed or the wrong organ or limb is removed from a person.

All of these events could be considered forms of medical malpractice, and could potentially lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering for victims, in addition to death.

With this in mind, CNN had an interesting story recently about healthcare officials in other countries who are experimenting with “black boxes” or devices that are similar to those found in planes, which can record and track when mistakes are made during surgical procedures.

Aside from helping to determine if something went wrong during an operation, the boxes could help surgeons review footage to improve techniques and prep for future patient interactions.

Researchers in Canada, Denmark and parts of South America, who are recording movements and errors made during operations, are currently utilizing the cameras. Some experts have said that they could be coming to America soon, as some hospitals have expressed interest in the boxes.

As CNN noted, because the boxes are not considered medical devices, they do not require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, meaning hospitals could start using them at any time.

Should I Speak to an Attorney If I Am Injured During Surgery?

Remember, if you or a family member has suffered through the horror of a never event or another form of medical malpractice in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, it may be wise to speak to an attorney. Keep in mind, as we reported last fall, studies have shown that patients who suffer injuries during medical care rarely get an acknowledgment of mistakes being made.

An attorney can help you determine if surgical errors were made during a procedure, as you may be entitled to damages for your pain and suffering. This money can be used to pay for physical therapy and rehabilitation, and/or other forms of medical care associated with an injury.

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Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Virginia Injury Attorneys


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.