The Law Looks a Little Different Through Google Glass
Yesterday, the first medical procedure ever was recorded using Google Glass at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. While there are countless story lines here about human progress and the ubiquity of technology, the real thing that interests me is the effect that this will inevitably have on medical malpractice. For those who are unfamiliar, doctors are not infallible. What makes negligent medical care particularly dangerous is the potential to end or severely disrupt someone’s life. When a patient is injured, a long, arduous and expensive legal process is frequently initiated. Often times, lawyers are understandably uneasy about taking on such cases because of uncertain economic realities. Medical malpractice suits are almost always taken on a contingent fee basis. What this means in practice is that an attorney is required to essentially lend time, effort and expenses to the claim of the injured party in hopes of recovering at some point down the road. That’s all well and good, but what complicates this is that uncertainty with the result often means that those who have been injured are left with diminished (or in some circumstances no) access to legal representation. This is because evidentiary standards in complex medical malpractice cases can make the economic risk simply too great for firms or sole practitioners to take. Enter the Google Glass surgery yesterday. With the almost certain proliferation of this technology in the future, it is likely that eventually most (if not all) medical malpractice insurers will require some form of video monitoring of surgery. The legal effect of this is both profound and encouraging. If every medical procedure were recorded, those claims that are meritorious will be readily identified and the risk component to lawyers will be minimized significantly. Ultimately, the result is a world where frivolous or baseless medical malpractice claims become non-existent and valid claims are identified in a hugely efficient manner. This is a game changer. Read more about this story here.