Posted on Jun 30, 2011
Video Your Surgery? Not a Smart Idea

Hospital groups in Massachusetts are up in arms over a proposed bill that would hand patients the right to video record their operations.

State Representative Martin J. Walsh (D-Dorchester) introduced the bill after one of his constituents told him he believed he lacked some details regarding his mother's surgery shortly before her death. Walsh believes his bill will lead to better safety for patients and better communication for families.

Hearings for the bill took place in June. Hospitals refusing a patient's request to videotape surgeries will be fined $10,000. Patients must pay for their video if they choose to have one and a free copy of the video must be sent to the hospital for no charge. Each surgery will be recorded by a "licensed medical videographer," the qualifications of which will be decided by the state's health department.

Several hospital and physician groups are complaining about the bill. They say it will, at the very least, not benefit patient care. At most, it could hurt procedures by delaying them or posing new threats of infection. The surgical team's communication might intruded upon. Additionally, the video idea is a costly, unfunded mandate, and will likely increase liability costs.

At the end of the day, recording the video of an operation will likely give a patient too much information. It's disturbing to watch; will induce nausea and vomiting and requires detailed explanations by the surgeon about what is going on and why. Can you imagine every patient walking into their surgeon's office and asking the doctor to go through and explain every detail of their lenghty surgery. "Why did you do that?" "What's that thing?" "Who is using that instrument?" "How come there's so much bleeding now?" "Who just cut that artery?" "Why did you burn that?" "What type of sutures are you using here and why?" "What is that ugly looking thing over there?"

These questions will create aggravation for the surgeon, dismay and confusion by the patient and likely will not yield productive information, except if something does go wrong during surgery. Otherwise, this proposal should fall by the wayside as just one thing that's TMI...TOO MUCH INFORMATION a patient just doesn't need or want to know.

Let me know below whether you think this proposal in Massachusets is a good idea.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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