Our expert says:
It depends. In some teaching hospitals, it happens that junior doctors videotape their sessions with patients to review with their supervisor, to improve their technique and to make sure you are receiving the best treatment and advice. It should NEVER EVER be done without the proper informed consent of the patient --- without an explanation of what will and won't be done with the tape, and when it will be wiped clean. If the patient is a voluntary patient, and thus legally able to understand and give consent, it should be considered legal and ethical. If the patient is a compulsory patient certified to be unable to give voluntary consent for treatment or admission, they obviously could also not give consent to being taped or to any use of the tape. Teh issue wouldnt be whether they are being treated, but whether they are capable of understanding what they are being asked, and of reasonably giving consent.
In a teaching hospital, it is often assumed that patients will understand that students of varying degrees of seniority will sit in on sessions, to learn, and may help in the treatment --- but this, too, must be explained to the partient and their consent obtained. At one time people were much less sensitive to such issues, but nowadays, I would not consider it proper for people to be taped for the tapes to be used forever, at any time in the future, unless they specificallty consent to this, too. Remember, we benefit from contributing to the training of students and doctors, so as a nation we will have more skilled health caregivers.
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