An Overdose of Policy – Hospitals Ban Birthing Videos

15 Feb

The New York Times recently featured an article on a hospital in Maryland, Meritus Medical Center, which is banning all pictures and videos during child-birth. Some other hospitals have followed suit and adopted similar policies. Needless to say, this has brought about some controversy.

While the hospital claims that “it is about the health and safety of the baby and mother and protecting the privacy of the medical staff,” banning the use of cameras and videos opens up the issue of transparency.

Transparency in an organization implies openness, communication and accountability. The birth of a child is often the most important day of many patients’ lives; it is something they want to be able to remember and relive through videos and photos. When hospitals take away this right, it raises questions and concerns among the public. The public  may wonder if the hospital is trying to hide something from them; this could cause them to doubt the hospital’s openness and transparency.

Taking away the right to film child births could also cause patients to question whether the hospital is trying to protect itself from evidence, primarily that which could be used in lawsuits. This brings doubts about the hospital’s accountability to its patients. In addition, these concerns may cause patients to wonder if the hospital is more concerned with its own well-being and reputation than with its patients. Any of these doubts about the hospital’s intentions could cause it to lose credibility in the community.

It will be interesting to see how the ban affects certain hospitals. It could be that hospitals without the ban attract more expectant mothers. From a public relations standpoint, I am guessing that hospitals that allow cameras and videos will experience greater growth and support from the community because they appear to be more transparent. These hospitals are the ones that are tuned in to what the public wants and are doing public relations right.

3 Responses to “An Overdose of Policy – Hospitals Ban Birthing Videos”

  1. jamesynwa February 15, 2011 at 1:43 PM #

    This is really interesting, Larissa! Like you mentioned, it comes across as a preemptive strike to protect the hospital from lawsuits. Not only do they forfeit the necessary component of transparency, they also alienate potential patients who want to document their delivery. Forbidding cameras removes the emotional importance of the day and makes it all about a scientific or physical procedure – not the most comforting notion for an expectant mother. Really contradicts the notion that hospitals are all about the patient.

    Then again, I’m only a guy. What do I know?

  2. kwaymire February 20, 2011 at 5:44 PM #

    I have never seen video footage of a child birth, and I’d like to keep it that way. That being said, I would want the option to tape my own child birth and I don’t think a hospital should be allowed to deny a mother the opportunity of videotaping herself during a once in a lifetime experience. It should be up to each mother to decide if she thinks videotaping the event would harm the health or safety of herself or the baby.

  3. Call me Akosua February 22, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

    I definitely wanted the birth of my child to be on camera. Let’s hope that in the next six or more years, these policies change! I don’t think it’s fair to ban the use of video recorders and cameras. As mentioned in the previous comments, this puts a damper on peoples right to create memories. It makes it seem like the hospitals are trying to do more than just protect themselves from maintaining this image they are trying to uphold. I don’t think that the hospitals have really thought this policy through – they should revisit it and come up with a better solution.

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