A Maryland hospital policy angers new moms and those looking to capture the first moments of baby’s life. Signatures are stacking up on an online petition against Meritus Medical Center, which has banned photos in the delivery room until five minutes after the baby is born or taking video during the delivery.
The hospital says the rule is not about lawsuits but will serve to “protect patient privacy and reduce potential staff disruption.” Within 24 hours after local moms-to-be Amber Madigan and Laurie Shifler set up a petition on www.thepetitionsite.com asking Meritus to revoke the policy, 149 people had signed on showing their support.
Under the new policy, which went into effect Nov. 1 at the Hagerstown area hospital, families must wait five minutes after the delivery before taking photos or filming in the birthing area, with approval from the medical staff. The hospital has commented, saying that the use of video cameras distracts the doctors and makes it more difficult for them to do their jobs and bring out the children safely into the world.
But Shifler and husband Michael, of Cascade, say they’d like to capture the entire delivery. “You can’t get back those first moments,” Mrs. Shifler said. “There’s no redo.”
The prohibition of video recording and still photography is also for the sake of patient privacy. The hospital’s policy is that if everything is okay and the child and mother are healthy, videotaping as well as the snapping of photos is allowed.