Letter to the Editor: Not getting the picture

Chicago Sun-Times
Friday, January 20, 2006

Dr. Laura Berman's column on the decision by Northwestern Memorial Hospital to ban cameras in the delivery room [''Camera ban deprives family of memento,'' Jan. 16] does a disservice to the serious issue of medical malpractice in Illinois.
Permitting cameras in the delivery room doesn't just allow families to document the miracle of childbirth. It also performs a great service in the distressing instance of something going wrong. We work with many families whose newborns were catastrophically injured due to gross negligence by hospitals or health care providers.This is a fact that institutions such as Northwestern would rather no one hear about.
Instead of banning cameras to make sure there is no footage that could show a patient was injured, Northwestern and its physicians should focus on ensuring those injuries never occur in the first place. This should also be the first priority of Dr. Berman, who is on medical teaching staff at Northwestern -- a fact she did not reveal to readers.
Indeed, if Northwestern is concerned about protection from frivolous-lawsuit-happy new parents, they should want their own cameras recording every surgery and delivery. This would provide solid evidence for their defense. The camera ban just makes Northwestern look like they have something to hide.
Amber Hard, staff director,
Center for Justice and Democracy-Illinois

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