According to a recent article in the New York Times, more and more hospitals across the country are banning pictures and videos from being taken during birth in the delivery room. Some hospitals are even calling for all cell phones to be turned off and out of sight during deliveries. Hospitals that enforce these bans only allow photos to be taken after the baby has been delivered and permission is granted by hospital staff.
The article discusses hospital’ claims that they are concerned about the health and safety of the baby and mother and that they are also concerned about protecting the privacy of the medical staff in implementing these restrictions. According to the article, thanks to Facebook and Youtube more and more doctors and hospital staff members are raising concerns over their own privacy.
However, the media has pointed out that many of these photography and video bans are being enforced to protect hospitals from malpractice lawsuits. Their concerns come against a backdrop of medical malpractice suits in which video plays a key role. One of the most prominent cases at the forefront of this movement to ban delivery room photos and videos stems from a case settled in 2007 that involved a baby that was born at the University of Illinois Hospital and that suffered from shoulder complications and permanent injury. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyer representing the family used the video in a malpractice lawsuit that was taken by the father in the delivery room. This video allegedly showed the nurse-midwife using excessive force during delivery and it led to a payment to the family of $2.3 million dollars.
According to Mike Matray, editor of “The Medical Liability Monitor”, a newsletter circulated in Chicago, this issue has been getting more attention on many hospital agendas, “I have certainly heard this issue discussed more often than I ever have previously, and it’ certainly true that some risk managers in hospitals are advising doctors to stop allowing video in the delivery room.”