Home >  News >  April, 2015

Bill Could Force Facilities to Video Surgeries

Patients given anesthesia would have the choice.

Published: April 24, 2015

Julie Ayer RubenzerPay no attention to that camera capturing every move you make in the OR.

Physicians and staff members in Wisconsin may have no other choice if a recently drafted bill is signed into law. The proposal would give patients the right to insist that any surgery that involves anesthesia be captured on video.

The "Julie Ayer Rubenzer Bill" is named after a Waukesha, Wisc., woman who died after undergoing breast augmentation surgery in Florida in 2003. According to news reports, the surgery was done by an oral surgeon who operated without having an anesthesiologist or nurse present. It was later determined that Ms. Rubenzer had been given a massive overdose of propofol, that the physician had relied on an office manager to monitor her pulse and that he'd waited between 2 and 6 minutes after she flat-lined to begin chest compressions.

The surgeon, Kurt Dangl, MD, lost his medical license as a result, but no criminal charges were filed against him.

Ms. Rubenzer's family has been fighting for stricter regulations ever since. Her father, Donald W. Ayer, wrote a book after the tragedy, called "The Who's Next Club: A Cosmetic Surgery Disaster."

The law is designed to protect both patients and physicians, says the bill's sponsor, Rep. Christine Sinicki. "If we have an actual video of who is coming and going and it is time-stamped and date-stamped, you got some proof right there," she tells Milwaukee's WITI-TV.

Jim Burger

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