August 28, 2019 13:25
A growing number of plastic surgery clinics are setting up security cameras in operating rooms to calm public jitters over the wrong doctors turning up.
There have been a series of reports in the media of patients being advised by one hot-shot consultant and then operated on while they were unconscious by somebody else.
One staffer at cosmetic clinic in Gangnam said, "We installed CCTV cameras in all of our operating rooms when we opened for business in May last year due to concerns among patients about non-designated surgeons and to address concerns over medical mishaps."
Another clinic in Sinsa-dong opened an area where a patient's family can watch and listen to the entire surgery process. "Thirty percent of our clients choose that option, and many of them are parents of schoolgirls as cosmetic surgery is becoming very popular among teenagers."
Babitalk, a smartphone app that connects patients with plastic surgery clinics, informs users which have CCTV cameras installed. At present, 20 percent of the 650 clinics on the app have set them up.
Patients largely welcomed the move. A survey last October by the Korea Society Opinion Institute showed 82.8 percent of 1,010 respondents in favor. Choi Sung-cheol at the Korea Alliance of Patients Organization said, "I hope more hospitals follow suit."
In May this year, Gyeonggi Province set up security cameras in operating rooms at all six hospitals it runs. But the Korean Medical Association and other groups representing doctors voiced concerns about invasion of privacy as well as fears that cameras could prompt doctors to be too timid in surgery and end up jeopardizing the patients' chances.
Due to this opposition, repeated attempts have failed to make it mandatory to set up security cameras in operating rooms. One bill was automatically scrapped after waiting for ratification since 2015, while another that was proposed in May of this year was withdrawn a day after it was floored.
This is also a contentious subject in other countries. A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. in 2015, only to be scrapped due to strong opposition from the medical community.
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