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Should medical malpractice claims be backed up by video?

Lately, there have been more news reports of police officers using excessive force. There is public outcry for transparency on the part of law enforcement. Using body cameras and dash cams to record officers while they work has been a proposed solution. Proponents of video use say this would not only protect the officer, it would help reach a conclusion on why certain procedures were done.

If video is becoming increasingly accepted for use by police, then why not doctors? Video of simple medical procedures, all the way up to major operations, could improve how a patient is treated and boost accountability. It may be time to bring video recording and the medical field together.

Video has helped patients

One instance of when video helped a patient surfaced when the person found a “big surprise” on their phone following a medical procedure. The patient wanted to record special instructions from the doctor, however, the patient actually recorded the entire procedure. The recording revealed the anesthesiologist and gastroenterologist had insulted the patient while sedated and entered false information into the medical record. The patient sued and was awarded payment for medical malpractice.

Video helps physicians, too

Video from operating rooms can be a great tool to doctors for educational purposes. For challenging and high-risk operations, the video can be a great benefit to a doctor who has yet to perform that procedure. The video can be archived for future use, or simply be reviewed if the same patient needs to be operated on again. The video can also assist the doctor if the patient is not recuperating the way they hoped. The video can be reviewed to catch a problem from the surgery that would have taken longer to detect without the video.

Using video in malpractice claims

Rather than relying on the recollections of those involved, video may show the different factors of an event. Pilots have long been recorded using the “black box,” which is crucial for investigators to uncover a pilot error or why a crash occurred.

In the medical field, if the hospital isn’t going to provide video, the patient may consider asking the doctor if they can record video. When a problem arises later, it is better to have video documentation of an event rather than just relying on medical records from the people involved in the incident.