A Hagerstown, Md., hospital is facing the wrath of parents-to-be after banning the use of cameras and videocameras in the birthing room until delivery is completed and newborns are 5 minutes old. Meritus Medical Center says the policy is necessary to ensure physicians and midwives can focus on what matters most — the health of moms and babies — but more than 100 expectant parents have signed a petition protesting the move. Is the hospital being overly cautious, or are parents putting snapshots ahead of safety?
It is hard to fault the doctors: The hospital isn't the bad guy, says Sarah Jio in Glamour. It certainly seems like "limiting distractions for doctors and nurses" is a "healthy move." I would be sad, too, "if my husband couldn't snap a photo of my new baby (coming in early Feb, or sooner!) in his first seconds of life!" But putting safety first is a hospital's job.
"Health controversy: Is it fair for a hospital to ban video and photos in birth rooms?"
Banning cameras is not necessary: "If safety is truly the issue... I'm all for it," says Danielle Sullivan in Strollerderby. But instead of a "blanket rule," why not implement a case-by-case system, barring "overzealous" paparazzi-like families from crowding the delivery room, as many hospitals do, and limiting witnesses (and documenters) to just one or two people? That way, perhaps families can have both mementos and safety.
"Maryland hospital bans photo use during childbirth"
Parents should have final say: "As long as it's not a high-risk delivery and the camera people agree to stay out of the way," says Gather's Moms blog, there's no reason to prevent parents from capturing those first moments. That's when "you truly fall in love, when you become a family." If the hospital won't back down, parents should consider a more flexible birthing center.
"Hospitals ban videos during deliveries — would you give up those first moments on film?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- Girls on Film: 5 things that need to happen before Hollywood will ever truly change
- How the West produces jihadi tourists
Subscribe to the Week