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Hospitals differ on taping births

By Shannon Jenkins

In light of recent malpractice concerns, doctors and hospitals across the nation are restricting videotaping in the delivery room, and local hospitals are no exception.

Although the use of unauthorized videotaping equipment is not allowed within Southern Regional Health System in Riverdale, the hospital does make some exceptions for the obstetrical services housed in the Women's Life Center, a hospital spokesman said.

"It is our policy for most normal deliveries to allow the delivering physician to determine whether or not videotaping of the delivery is permissible," said Rick Smith Sr., the managing director of public relations/marketing and government relations. "While we appreciate a new parent's desire to have their baby's birth on tape, our first and foremost goal is to support our physicians in providing the highest quality care available."

Smith said Southern Regional also reserves the right to make exceptions for media and public relations purposes.

At Henry Medical Center, spokeswoman Jennifer Dougherty said video cameras are not allowed in the delivery room, but still photography is welcome.

"Following the nationwide trend to not allow video cameras in the delivery rooms, Henry Medical Center followed suit last year," she said.

Doctors and medical personnel were unavailable for comments at Southern Regional and Henry Medical Center.

For new mother Jessica Sellers, the decision to videotape a birth should belong to a parent.

"I think it should be the mother's choice," the McDonough resident said. "If she chooses to do that, she should be able to."

Sellers said the subject of video cameras never came up at Henry Medical Center when she gave birth to a baby boy on March 10. A still camera was used to capture her special moment.

The American Medical Association has no guidelines on families videotaping deliveries, said spokeswoman Alicia Mitchell, but many hospitals encourage patients and doctors to work out an agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.