Camera phones in the ER

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    The other day, while in triage, I was confronted by a woman. I had triaged her earlier....she had an abscess that probably needed I&D, therefore she needed a room in the area of our ED where we put our lacs and abscesses. I had informed her at triage that we did not have any rooms open and told her I would call her back when one was available.
    In the meantime, she saw me triage a couple of cough/backs pains to the Fast Track. This was the source of her disgruntlement.
    As she verbally attacked me and called me a "liar"....I tried in vain to explain why she needed a special room and why the others were called back ahead of her. (I can understand her initial confusion) But the woman was so busy calling me names...she refused to listen.
    Usually I don't argue.
    This time, the point was so simple.... I just knew I could make her understand.
    Silly me.
    ANYway..... I looked over this woman's shoulder and I see her 15-16 year old son taking my picture with his phone. I tell him "You do NOT have my permission to take my picture" and then I summon security who had been lurking in the shadows until this point. The security officer asks the young man, "did you take her picture?" Well, duh.....GUESS what the guy says?
    "no"
    The security guy considered the case closed I guess because he then goes back to his corner.

    There are soooo many picture/video phones out there. I know we have policies about pts privacy and rights....but what about OURS? I felt somewhat violated and even perceived a veiled threat in there.

    Just wondering if any of you...ER or elsewhere in the hospital... have had a simular situation and what your hospital/security does about it.
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  4. 36 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    We don't have hospital security - we are a very small rural hospital.

    Camera phones - we don't have a policy against it at present but I will definitely bring it up at our nurse council meeting this afternoon.

    I personally think it is scary - but the phones are ubiquitous. . . . how can we even tell if someone is taking our photo?

    I'm sorry about your experience - it is hard to make folks understand "triage".

    steph
  6. 0
    Quote from stevielynn
    . . . how can we even tell if someone is taking our photo?
    In this case, I saw him with the phone held up high in front of him (in position) and the admissions clerks stated later they heard the "click" noise.
    But I do see your point of how it would be hard to determine.

    I just think there needs to be a sign that states something to the effect that the use of camera phones are strictly prohibited and are subject to search.
    I feel security should have searched his phone and deleted any pictures that he had taken.
  7. 0
    Quote from LeahJet
    In this case, I saw him with the phone held up high in front of him (in position) and the admissions clerks stated later they heard the "click" noise.
    But I do see your point of how it would be hard to determine.

    I just think there needs to be a sign that states something to the effect that the use of camera phones are strictly prohibited and are subject to search.
    I feel security should have searched his phone and deleted any pictures that he had taken.
    Oh, I agree with you completely! And a sign would be a great idea - it would stop some of the people I think.

    Sneaky folks will always find a way - this is interesting because there is an ongoing thread re: video cameras in L&D . .. . . .

    steph
  8. 0
    Leah, I feel for you. I can see that situation being repeated anytime, anywhere ... as stevielynn pointed out, the phones are ubiquitous. (yes, I have one too, although COMMON SENSE would prevent me from ever taking someone's picture without their permission, except at a public event where it's expected)

    Not sure what to advise you ... I haven't had someone take my picture - yet. I've had a few unpleasant *discussions* in triage. Overall, our security staff is pretty protective of us, but I can see them being reluctant to confiscate private property which wasn't an "obvious" threat such as a weapon. At most, they might decide the person was "belligerent" enough to warrant being escorted out, but that would probably be a stretch ...

    Hope you have a better day today.
  9. 0
    BTW - my cell phone does not have a camera.


    steph
  10. 0
    Whats the big deal about having your picture taken? regardless of the rules of a hospital a security guard can't just take someone's phone and start going through it. If the hospital has rules against taking pictures then its should post signs no cameras or video equipment allowed. I know I've taken plenty of pictures inside of hospitals and have never had anything said to me. Do you think he was taking your picture so later he could track you down and get you back for not sending his mother to be treated quickly enough. Now maybe if the guy publishes the photo then he would need your permission and maybe that since it was inside of a non-public place he may need your permission. but regardless I think having a security guard take someones phone and go through it deleting stuff is retarded.
    Who knows if or why he took your picture.
  11. 0
    Quote from xt1
    Whats the big deal about having your picture taken? regardless of the rules of a hospital a security guard can't just take someone's phone and start going through it. If the hospital has rules against taking pictures then its should post signs no cameras or video equipment allowed. I know I've taken plenty of pictures inside of hospitals and have never had anything said to me. Do you think he was taking your picture so later he could track you down and get you back for not sending his mother to be treated quickly enough. Now maybe if the guy publishes the photo then he would need your permission and maybe that since it was inside of a non-public place he may need your permission. but regardless I think having a security guard take someones phone and go through it deleting stuff is retarded.
    Who knows if or why he took your picture.
    You know, after reading your eloquent and thought provoking post.... I see now that my feelings are not warranted.
    Thank you so much.
  12. 0
    This thread is getting off track. No personal attacks, please. Just stick to the topic.

    As for the OP I'd be extermely insulted if someone went around taking pictures of me without my permission. In most places it's not illegal, though.

    But a hospital can and should have a policy against having video or audio recording equipment if, for nothing else HIPAA reasons.
  13. 0
    Quote from cyberkat
    This thread is getting off track. No personal attacks, please. Just stick to the topic.

    As for the OP I'd be extermely insulted if someone went around taking pictures of me without my permission. In most places it's not illegal, though.

    But a hospital can and should have a policy against having video or audio recording equipment if, for nothing else HIPAA reasons.
    Yep - good post.


    steph


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