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New technology claims to reduce or eliminate surgical errors

Every time a patient goes in for surgery, there are risks. Some of those risks, however, are unnecessary. There have been instances all across the country and here in New Jersey of surgical errors, such as leaving items inside patients, operating on the wrong body part and performing the wrong procedure.

A small business in the Sunshine State claims they have developed technology that could reduce or even eliminate the possibility of surgical errors. A company called The Garage has developed a device it calls AiR. The device is designed for surgeons to use in the operating theater without having to use their hands.

The voice-activated software interacts with the hospital's computers to locate a patient's records. It provides critical information to the surgeon to verify that they are performing the correct procedure on the correct body part. Further, the software keeps track of the surgical equipment used so that nothing is left behind and videotapes the procedure. The software is designed to augment existing controls, not replace them.

The Garage is planning to debut the software at a conference in Orlando, Florida, at the end of February. The software was tested at three medical facilities. Reportedly, once surgeons became comfortable with the videotaping, they liked the software. If this kind of software even reduces the number of patients subjected to surgical errors, it may be worth it.

Until this or similar software is thoroughly tested and used on a regular basis by surgeons here in New Jersey, surgical errors could continue to occur in the numbers they do now. When a patient is seriously injured or a patient dies as the result of a surgeon's mistake, the patient -- or the family of a deceased patient -- has the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. A successfully litigated claim could result in an award of damages such as pain and suffering, medical costs, and in cases of a fatality, funeral and burial expenses.

Source: orlandosentinel.com, Garage technology keeps patients safer, Marni Jameson, Feb. 2, 2014

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