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Boston Injury Lawyer Blog Question of the Week – Should Patients Be Allowed to Record Surgeries?

In Massachusetts, patients are prohibited from recording their surgeries without the consent of all parties being recorded. However, in light of recent incidents, more and more patients are requesting permission to video or audio record their surgeries. Earlier this year, a patient in Virginia was awarded $500,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit after his secretly recorded surgery revealed offensive comments made by doctors while he was under sedation. The patient had set his cellphone to “record” and slipped it into his pants pocket prior to an outpatient colonoscopy. Contact a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today.

Uptick in Patient Requests to Video or Audio Record Hospital Visits

Advocates for patient recordings say that the transparency of a recording holds physicians accountable, and may even present an opportunity for all medical personnel to learn from their mistakes. However, many hospitals and physicians aren’t so sure. They have voiced serious concerns over privacy, and have questioned how such a policy would impact the doctor-patient relationship. According to Jennifer Kritz, a spokeswoman for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, there has been an increase in patient requests to record their hospital visits. In addition to recording surgeries, patients also want to record physician instructions and film physical therapy sessions in order to replicate the exercises at home. Although there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the recording of medical procedures, several Boston area hospitals say they allow patients to record visits as long as consent of medical staff is obtained beforehand.

In Wisconsin, a state representative has recently introduced a bill that would require all hospitals to give patients the option of recording medical visits, procedures, and surgeries. In recent years, similar bills have been introduced in both Mississippi and Massachusetts, but they have yet to create any changes in policy. According to Betty Daniels, an Indiana local chapter director for the National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association, the organization is working to get a similar bill introduced in Indiana.

In a recent interview with the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Dr. Dennis Dimitri, he voiced concerns that recording surgeries would introduce an element of “distrust” and would effectively “anticipate wrongdoing.” He also said that recording surgeries, “may cause people to be much more guarded about what they say”. Additional concerns include the spread of medical videos on social media, the videographer getting in the way of the surgery, physicians being so guarded about what they say that they neglect to mention important details during surgery, and the exposure of hospitals to more medical malpractice lawsuits.

Could Recordings Actually Protect Hospitals?

Advocates for video and audio tapings think that these recordings could potentially help hospitals undergoing malpractice lawsuits. In most malpractice cases, there is no way to know what actually happened. Video and audio recordings may actually help physicians defend themselves. Additionally, hospitals may be able to use the videos as a learning tool, and to find out things such as why one surgeon’s infection rate is lower than another’s.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving Massachusetts for Nearly 50 Years

If you have been injured due to a medical mistake or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complex. The malpractice team at Altman & Altman, LLP, has extensive experience in this area of the law. We know how to position you for the best outcome in your unique case. Contact us today for a free consultation.