Airline Black Box, Now in Operation Theatre

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 9, 2014 6:32 PM EST

Researchers at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital have come up with a Black Box, to be used in operation theatres, similar to the one used in the airline industry. This, the researchers claim, will help identify the errors being made by the surgeons in the operation theatre (OT) and assist in teaching them how to avoid them.

Dr Teodor Grantcharov, a staff surgeon at the St Michael's Hospital, along with other researchers, has developed a black box to be used in OT. The intention is to reduce errors and advice surgeons of better surgical practices.

The black box, as per Grantcharov, will be the size of a "thick book" or a "box of tissue" that will record everything - the communication between the surgeons, room temperature and decibels and the video of the surgery. The black box will be effective only for laparoscopic or operations that insert video cameras in thin plastic tubes. These tubes are then passed through a tiny incision in the body. This allows the surgeon to see what's happening inside the body of the patient being operated upon.

 "We want to see where errors happen in surgery so that we can understand how errors lead to adverse events and develop training curricula to prevent these errors from ever happening again," said Grantcharov. Giving further insight about the black box, the surgeon added, "It doesn't mean that we will have perfect surgeries, because we are not perfect. But it means we will learn from our errors, which will make us safer. We will train future surgeons better because we can show them what the most critical situations are and how to avoid them."

Grantcharov further said that they have begun providing training to surgeons to acquire mastery in those two skills since nearly 84 per cent of mistakes in bypass surgery occur during those two steps.

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