Patient in ‘live’ surgery showing died soon after

Kyodo News

A patient died after developing serious complications during an operation last fall that was transmitted live for a doctors’ training session, medical sources said.

An investigation panel under the Japanese Society for Cardiovascular Surgery concluded there were no causal links between the death of the patient, who suffered an aortic aneurysm, and the live broadcast.

But it also pointed out that live coverage is likely to affect surgeons and said it will draw up a guideline for such training sessions.

The surgery was conducted in September at Toyohashi Heart Center in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, and was transmitted live to a training session in Hyogo Prefecture.

The surgeon, who came from a different hospital, answered questions from the session participants while conducting the operation. Some of the participants voiced objections to the doctor’s surgical methods, according to the sources.

The patient developed the complications after the live coverage was suspended and died two days later despite emergency treatment, they said.

The investigation panel said it is undeniable that the training session had the air of a show and urged the hospital and organizers to “sincerely review” the style that led participants to argue with the surgeon.

The panel also questioned whether it was appropriate that a patient suffering from a condition with a high mortality rate was the subject of the live session.

Yasuhide Okawa, vice director at Toyohashi Heart Center, said it is regrettable the patient died, but claimed it did not result from malpractice.

“We will study whether we should continue with live broadcasts of surgery, but we believe they are necessary to improve the skills of doctors,” Okawa said. “The patient’s family understands our stance.”