Photography Ban: Privacy or Liability Risk?


Recently hospitals banning photographs and videos during childbirth have ignited a firestorm of debate all over the internet about parental rights verses the rights of hospitals and their providers.

I was interested today to read an article in the New York Times which detailed one hospital using the excuse that their staff does not feel like becoming internet celebrities through facebook, youtube, and various other social networking websites. Big egos? I think so, but what really bothers me the most is that hospitals are using this as nothing more than an excuse.

Other hospitals have had the guts to come out and say the bans circle around liability. I mean really… no nurse, or even doctor wants to be caught on camera, or film screwing something up, or leaving a couple with proof of gross negligence, which we know happens. But unfortunately for parents, this leaves a lot of issues for those who are going to be having children in upcoming years. Especially if they are making the choice to birth in the hospital.

During births of both of my children, we were allowed to use our camera, and take as many pictures as we want. With my first son we were told no pictures of the surgery itself, and that we could only have pictures behind the curtain, clearly of my face, and the baby once he was born. Did my husband listen?  No way, once I was in recovery and looking through the pictures, there was a gross picture of the cesarean surgery.  No one noticed, but what would they do?  Take our camera? Make us delete the picture?

With our second son, my midwife took the camera, and took pictures for us. It was a win-win for all of us. The hospital staff and doctors were comfortable, and we had pictures taken of both of us with our son during his birth. This time around, we will be doing the same thing. It worked best for us. But there would be no way someone would tell us that we could not have pictures of the first moments of our child’s life. It is OUR moment as parents.

But why use websites like facebook, and youtube as an excuse to cover up the concerns of liability of staff mistakes, of course we live in a society today where everyone wants to sue a doctor or nurse for farting the wrong way, but lets be real… these aren’t the moments of the hospital staff to take away from families. This is the biggest moments of their lives, and they have more than the right to take pictures of their birth.

I wonder how many hospitals will start to lose patients because of policies of this nature?