Dr. Tim Lahey, the author of the New York Times article titled “A Watchful Eye in Hospitals” and chairman of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Bioethics Committee thinks so. Not only that, Dr. Lahey believes that hidden video cameras should be only a “last resort” and should only occur with the oversight of a hospital ethics committee.
The horse is out of the barn on this one. Society has become too Orwellian to retreat into an expectation of more privacy. Video monitoring occurs everywhere – courthouses, grocery stores, airports, spy drones, even many private homes. You’d be hard pressed to find any hospital in the nation that doesn’t already use some form of video surveillance. In fact, in the next 5-10 years I predict that audio or even video recording of patient encounters will become commonplace – much like police encounters are recorded now.
A proposal requiring hospital ethics committee oversight to use video surveillance when those committees typically meet four times per year (and some hospitals don’t even have ethics committees) is shortsighted and silly.
For the sake of argument, suppose that a notification of potential covert video monitoring is contained in the documents a patient signs when entering the hospital.
Is there some benefit that the notification provides to the patient?
Should a patient be able to refuse video surveillance? If so, shouldn’t the hospital be allowed to refuse medical care to patients that do not consent? Kind of like walking into an airport and refusing to be video recorded. If you don’t want to be videotaped, find another means of travel.
For now, smile … if you enter a hospital, you’re going to be on camera. Ethics committee approval notwithstanding.[yop_poll id=”7″]