Until the death of my sister Julie Ayer Rubenzer in 2003 I lead a rather normal life, going to work, spending time with my family and enjoying life.

Julie’s death was a clear result of medical malpractice. I have spent the last 10 years devoted to researching this issue across the country.  As a result I created a Facebook page called the “National Organization for Medical Malpractice Victims” with the goal of providing a forum for victims and family members to come together and share their experiences.

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What I learned is alarming and I firmly believe these issues need to be addressed, before there is one more death at the hands of a malpractice physician.

As a veteran of Operation Desert Storm I have a natural interest in veteran’s issues.  In 2012 I began to receive messages from veterans across the country complaining about the quality of care at our VA hospitals. 

I have tried to bring this information to the attention of Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats House Democrats subpoena Rick Perry in impeachment inquiry Trump faces growing GOP revolt on Syria MORE (R-Wis.), Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (D-Wis.), Rep. Glen Grothman (R-Wis.) and former Rep. Tom Petrie (R-Wis.).  They have refused to look at the data or address the issue.

Eventually I was able to share my information with Wisconsin State Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee).  She took the time to meet with the families of the victims, and research the issue.  Based on the data I supplied she authored Assembly Bill 255, Known as the “Julie Ayer Rubenzer Law” or the “Surgical Black Box Bill.”

This measure gives the patient consumer the right to choose to have their surgery recorded by audio and video. All data can be used in a court of law.  It is designed for disciplinary boards to review and weed out bad doctors. It is also to protect whistleblowers and good doctors. It is the first bill of its kind in the United States. Many are dubbing this as the strongest patient safety bill in generations.

This A.B. 255 was given to Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the chairman of Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Congress has the authorization to implement this into law for all VA hospitals. As expected I have never heard back from anyone in Congress on my issues or implementing the bill.  The reason they are ignoring me is that they will have to make extremely uncomfortable changes against the interests of the medical community, putting their campaign funds at risk.

I have many concerns that these conversations need to take place at a federal level and not at a state level.

1)  National practitioner database: By law this is off-limits to the public and patient consumer. No one is allowed to truly research the history of their doctor or hospital.This must become transparent to the public.

2)  No national tracking system for medical malpractice doctors: There literally is not one portal for patients to find real time information about their doctor.  Example: Maybe their doctor had settlements against him. This data could be a clear indicator whether or not you would want this individual operating on you.

3)  Malpractice doctors lose their license in one state and resurface in another: Many people have expressed that they feel these type of doctors are being hired by the VA.

If the VA hospitals would like to clean up quality issues, the ‘Surgical Black Box’ is a good start.  It is time to put the patient consumer ahead of the profits. The ‘Surgical Black Box’ is there to protect the patient, the doctor and staff. It ensures quality.

Ayer is a sales engineer residing in Random Lake, Wisconsin.