Tag Archives: transparency health public relations

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.