ACOG warns against videotaping births

Develop your own policy

The Committee on Professional Liability of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in Washington, DC, recently issued a statement saying childbirth videotapes pose more than a theoretical malpractice risk.

The statement strongly discourages videotaping and says that, if you do allow it, you should keep a copy of the tape.1 This is the statement:

"Written consent from the patient or guardian and the involved health care personnel should be obtained when using electronic recording media for telemedicine, educational purposes (such as laparoscopic videotapes), or any other reason. The written consent should indicate the specific purposes for which the images may be used.

"Each institution should develop policies concerning the recording of routine and emergency procedures by health care personnel as well as the recording of deliveries by third parties or family members. These policies should be discussed before the procedure or soon after the physician-patient relationship has been established.

"Recording solely for the purpose of patient memorabilia or marketing is not without liability, and each institution should weigh these competing concerns. The Committee on Professional Liability strongly discourages any recording of medical and surgical procedures for patient memorabilia. If an institution allows such recording, however, the written consent of the patient and health care personnel should be obtained in advance, and the institution’s ability to retain the original and provide a copy to the patient should be clarified."


1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Liability Implications of Recording Procedures or Treatments. Washington, DC; September 1998. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 207.