Local News

Duke Medical Policy Prevents Parents from Taping Births

Posted December 8, 1998

— The birth of a child is one event when pictures really do speak louder than words, but one area hospital is banning video cameras from rolling during delivery.

Mark and Lisa Jones, like many new parents, wanted to capture the event of their baby's birth on tape.

"I think that's it's going to be something that she might want to see later on just as a special memory," says Lisa Jones, "and I know it's going to be something that I watch over and over."

The Jones' would not have been able to record those special memories if they had delivered their baby atDuke University Medical Center,which has implemented a new policy forbidding the use of still or video cameras during delivery.

The hospital is currently fighting a lawsuit in which a tape is being used as evidence. Duke Medical officials say the court case has nothing to do with the new policy.

They say taping a birth can be a distraction during delivery and that confidentiality issues can arise. Other Triangle hospitals do not see it as a problem.

"We feel like we'd be disappointing a lot of moms if we didn't allow them to tape their deliveries when they want to," says Susan Cloaninger, director of the Rex Women's and Children's Services.

Rex Hospital, which has the busiest birthing center in the Triangle, allows cameras in the delivery room. Officials there believe parents have a right to tape the event, and they say even the issue of liability is not a concern.

"We decided that the videotape can work just as well in our favor to show that we handled an emergency or difficult situation appropriately," Cloaninger said.

Officials at Rex say there seemed to be more interest in taping deliveries when camcorders first came out. Although the novelty has worn off a bit, there are some parents who still choose to do it.

Duke University Medical Center officials declined an on-camera interview for this report.

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