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The Surgical “Black Box” and Implications for Your Florida Med Mal Case


You are probably familiar with the term “black box” to describe the event data recorders on commercial aircraft and automobiles, but you might not realize that this technology is also making its way into operating rooms across the US. Named to the Best Inventions 2019 list generated by Time magazine, the OR black box works similar to its counterparts in other industries. It records what transpires during a procedure, so that – if the patient suffers harm through a surgical error or other negligence – the information can be useful in identifying what went wrong.

Despite the usefulness for purposes of safety and quality patient care, the information captured by an OR black box may also play a role in a claim for medical malpractice. Your Florida surgical errors lawyer can explain in more detail, but an overview may be helpful.

How an OR Black Box Works: The technology was developed by a Canadian surgeon with a view to reducing the number of surgical mistakes that occur in ORs every year. Like its namesake in the airline industry, the OK black box records multiple types of data and events that occur during surgery, including:

  • The patient’s vital signs;
  • Video of the procedure and other spaces within the operating room;
  • Audio from conversations among the surgeon, anesthesiologist, additional physicians, OR nurses, and other staff in attendance;
  • Readings and alerts from electronic and robotic surgical instruments; and
  • Much more.

Hospitals may use the data collected by the OR black box for many different purposes, such as identifying systemic problems, teaching, detecting glitches in surgical tools, and others. The technology is a huge improvement over other methods of monitoring what transpires during surgery. Many surgical teams rely on paper checklists and their own personal recollections, making the OR black box a step in the right direction. 

The Role of an OR Black Box in Florida Med Mal Claims: While teaching and providing quality patient care are extremely important objectives, the OR black box can also take a lead role in supporting a med mal claim based upon surgical mistakes. The technology gives patients and their families transparency into what may have gone wrong during a procedure, thereby pinpointing the exact nature of the error. The OR black box fills in gaps where med mal evidence is weak because:

  • The surgeon denies wrongdoing;
  • Multiple errors led to harm for the patient;
  • Witness recollections are fuzzy or lack credibility; or,
  • Other issues with proof create challenges for obtaining fair compensation.

Our Florida Surgical Malpractice Attorneys Can Advise You on Your Rights 

While the OR black box may be useful as proof in a medical malpractice claim, there are many other forms of evidence that can support your right to compensation as an injured patient. Our Miami surgical errors attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. conducts an exhausting investigation to gather essential proof, so you can feel confident your case is in good hands. To learn more about your rights, please contact our offices to set up a free consultation.


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