Last time, we began speaking about the potential importance increased documentation
of medical care and surgical procedures could play in reducing the incidence
of medical malpractice in the United States. As we noted, the suggestion
that health care providers routinely tape surgeries and other procedures
has certainly been met with some resistance, understandably so.
For one thing, routine video documentation of health care delivery could
potentially provide a significant avenue for holding physicians accountable
for failing to meet standards of care in the delivery of health care services.
In any medical malpractice case, one of the potential challenges is gaining
access to information that can be used to prove a physician’s liability.
In medical malpractice litigation, plaintiffs are typically at a disadvantage
in terms of gathering evidence of liability, since it is physicians and
health care institutions which hold the records regarding complications
and errors that come up during surgeries and other procedures and the
effects of these errors on the patient’s condition. Even so, in
some cases serious medical errors may not even be adequately recorded
in hospital records, leaving that knowledge within the minds of the physicians
and other workers assisting in the procedure.
In medical malpractice litigation, the discovery process is supposed to
allow plaintiffs access to evidence of medical errors, but plaintiffs
are not always able to gather the information they need. Not that video
documentation would be a foolproof remedy for this problem, but it could
certainly help in many cases. Because of the challenges in gathering the
evidence necessary to prove the elements of medical malpractice litigation,
it is critical for injured patients to work with an experienced attorney
who knows not only how to build a strong case, as well as when pursuing
alternative avenues of relief is preferable to