CCTV Cameras in Operating Rooms to Become Mandatory

  • By Roh Suk-jo

    August 24, 2021 11:23

    The National Assembly's Health and Welfare Committee on Monday approved a bill mandating CCTV cameras in operating rooms.

    The bill, which aims to crack down on medical malpractice, was first proposed six years ago, but there was a great deal of resistance due to fears that it would make doctors overly cautious, preventing them from performing risky but life-saving emergency procedures.

    Some doctors have also warned they will file a petition against the law with the Constitutional Court because it violates their right to privacy.

    It still needs to go through a plenary session before it is promulgated. And if it passes there, it will take effect after a two-year grace period.

    Staff check CCTV cameras in a hospital in Seoul on Monday. /Yonhap

    The law would make it mandatory to install CCTV cameras that are not connected to outside networks in hospital operating rooms. Patients can request the audio to be turned off, and hospitals must make the footage available when there are requests from public agencies in legal proceedings or when both patient and surgeon agree.

    Surgeons can refuse to be filmed if there is a justifiable reason -- for example if a patient's life would be endangered if the surgery is delayed, or if high-risk surgery is performed to save a patient's life.

    The bill was prompted by a series of scandals including lax procedures in some clinics where junior proxies performed operations on behalf of senior doctors.

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