Across the nation and in Tennessee, increasing numbers of hospitals are not allowing patients and their family members to take pictures or video in delivery rooms until the babies are safely delivered. Some hospitals even prohibit photography or video recording in the delivery room until the medical team has given its permission.
Hospitals claim that these policy changes are intended to maintain the safety of mothers and babies as well as protect the identity of hospital workers who do not wish to become unintentional celebrities in videos or pictures posted on websites like YouTube and Facebook, reported the New York Times.
However, mothers and family members counter that photography and video capture the once-in-a-lifetime events of their children’s births, and they should have the right to do so.
Moreover, these bans on cameras in delivery rooms come on the heels of several birth-injury lawsuits in which delivery-room video played a key role in deciding the case. It appears, therefore, that these camera prohibitions may have more to do with protecting doctors against legal liability than ensuring patient safety or confidentiality.
One of the most significant birth-injury cases involving delivery-room video is a 2007 lawsuit against the University of Illinois and its medical staff. In that case, a father recorded video in the delivery room of a nurse-midwife using excessive force during delivery, causing the baby to be born with shoulder complications and permanent injury, according to the New York Times. The jury saw the video and awarded damages of $2.3 million to the family.
Hospitals should allow patients and their families to record video and take pictures in delivery rooms, especially because modern cameras are so small and unobtrusive. Although parents are unlikely to forget the joyous occasions of their children’s births, they should also be permitted to document these amazing events for themselves, their families and their friends.