Bill Calling for Cameras in Surgery Motivated by Doctor Now Prac - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Bill Calling for Cameras in Surgery Motivated by Doctor Now Practicing in Erie

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Bill in Wisconsin for cameras in surgery linked to doctor practicing in Erie Bill in Wisconsin for cameras in surgery linked to doctor practicing in Erie
WICU12/SEE News has learned that a medical malpractice case that involves a doctor now practicing oral surgery in Erie is the force behind a push for cameras to record surgical procedures.

The idea is to give patients the right to have surgical procedures both video and audio recorded.  It's called the Julie Ayer Rubenzer Bill, named for a 38-year-old Wisconsin native, who died after a breast augmentation surgery in Sarasota, Florida went very wrong. Her family worked with a Wisconsin lawmaker, Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, to introduce Bill 2015 in the state house there.

Julie's family would like to see similar measures introduced across the nation, but Pennsylvania in particular has their attention.  That is because Dr. Kurt Dangl, who had his license revoked in Florida after the failed 2003 surgery, is now a licensed, practicing oral surgeon in Pennsylvania, practicing here in Erie. We learned that Dr. Dangl worked through Community Health Net for three years, and in February began private practice working with several local dentists.

Dr. Dangl declined to go on camera, but told WICU12/SEE News he hopes renewed attention to the Julie Ayer Rubenzer case doesn't deprive him of a chance to earn a living. Wade Ayer, Julie's brother says the measure is not vindictive, it's constructive, aimed at giving patient consumers an option his family didn't have when his sister died.   "Time and time again I get messages from other victims that don't have access to the data that would support them in a court of law, so it's very much constructive," said Wade Ayer. 

Medical malpractice lawyers say that's very different from information generated in the medical peer review process used now in Pennsylvania, which aims to make surgery safer, but is not admissible in court.   Attorney Robert LeSuer said, "In the peer review situation we've decided that we so want people to come forward and correct problems, that we won't let that be used in a courtroom to hold them responsible. The downside of that from the family's perspective is, why are you keeping evidence from the jury that they should be able to hear about what this person did or didn't do."

 Wade Ayer has sent Pennsylvania State Representative Flo Fabrizio information on the Wisconsin measure. We don't know yet if anyone intends to introduce the measure here.

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