NHS whistleblower ex-surgeon calls for surgeries to be filmed to improve surgery safety
- Dr. Edwin Jesudason thinks surgeries should be videotaped as an ‘ethical duty’
- These thoughts follow his concerns about “avoidable” childhood deaths
- He was frozen out of a pediatric surgery where he worked after expressing these fears
Surgery should be ‘routinely videotaped’ to improve safety in the operating room, says a former NHS whistleblower.
Dr. Edwin Jesudason, who was barred from pediatric surgery after raising concerns about “avoidable” surgical deaths in children, said recording what goes on behind theater doors should be an “ethical duty.”
He said: ‘Since video technology already exists in most surgical theatres, there should be a fairly low barrier to introducing this more routinely, as long as you get the patient’s consent.
“Is it any longer ethical not to do this? We have black box recorders in airplane cockpits that can record everything that happens. If we choose not to use them, would that be okay?’
The medic, who now works for the Scottish NHS, stressed that he spoke in a personal capacity.
Dr. Edwin Jesudason believes surgeries should be videotaped as part of an ‘ethical duty’
Last night Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said it was a ‘very interesting’ idea worth exploring. He added: ‘Firstly I want to make sure we have an open and honest culture in the NHS where clinicians can admit where mistakes have been made.
“Secondly, I don’t want patients to have to spend a lot of time and money on expensive lawsuits to get the compensation they deserve.” In 2009, Dr. Jesudason expressed concern among NHS bosses that two young children had died at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital as a result of unsafe surgical practices. He eventually left the hospital. Three years later, he went public in an interview with the Daily Mail.
He found it impossible to find work elsewhere in the NHS as a consultant pediatric surgeon, which led to him retraining in another specialty, rehabilitation medicine.
Dr. Jesudason said: ‘The experience led me to recognize what patients and families recognize – which is that when harm occurs, it can be very difficult to get a good conversation about what can be learned. Very often hospitals react defensively.
Dr. Edwin Jesudason’s thoughts follow his concerns about “avoidable” child deaths
“Having video would potentially make it easier for everyone because there would be a source of unassailable evidence about what happened.”
The ‘cost of damage’ to England’s health service was £13.3 billion in 2021/22, according to NHS Resolution, which helps manage disputes.
Dr. Jesudason detailed his thoughts in the Journal Of Medical Ethics (JME).
A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Surgeons said the article ‘explores a range of interesting questions for the surgical profession about how we can ensure that surgical patients receive the best possible care’.
She added that cameras were “already in place in many areas of operations.”