Monday, May 20, 2013

Paramedics secretly film cardiac arrest patients with body cameras

Paramedics wearing body cameras have been filming their efforts to revive cardiac arrest patients as part of a research project designed to save lives and improve training.
Twelve paramedics in Edinburgh have been recording patients for study by the Resuscitation Research Group at University of Edinburgh.
The project is at a preliminary stage and its full results have yet to be published, a Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said.
Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie has raised concerns about the filming being carried out without prior publicity or patient consent.
The SAS spokesman said: "A camera is being used by a small team of 12 paramedics in Edinburgh as part of a project researching out-of-hospital cardiac arrests which has already saved lives and improved survival rates. It is providing valuable learning that will ultimately be shared to enhance patient care across the country.
"A small camera is worn by one of the team and operates when they are dispatched to a cardiac arrest. It is used to collect data for an audit of resuscitation practice as part of an ongoing pilot with the Resuscitation Research Group at the University of Edinburgh."
Ms Baillie said: "I am surprised that the ambulance service has chosen to take an approach of secrecy with this. I welcome research and training which will improve life-saving chances for people who suffer heart attacks, but for there to be no knowledge of filming, no consent sought and no transparency is simply unacceptable.
"At one of the most upsetting, vulnerable and private moments of a person's life, we must have respect for both the privacy of the patient and their next of kin. Before such programmes are introduced in the future, we must ensure that people know what is happening and have the opportunity to express their views."
The SAS spokesman said any footage recorded is encrypted and can only be viewed on a specific computer that is kept securely within the project group.
He said: "All footage is permanently deleted after use and it is not used for assessment of individuals. Footage is only used for research and learning purposes, undertaken according to strict governance and in accordance with rules for consent.
"The project has been running for several months and was discussed and agreed with staff and trade union representatives in Edinburgh before it started."

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