Secret Surveillance Approved Inside Patient's Room

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Mar 26, 2014

The family of an elderly man found a hidden camera in his hospital room. Already frustrated from what they felt was substandard care, they were outraged when they noticed the camera in a fake smoke detector mounted to the ceiling.

It prompted both a VA investigation and the creation of a bill aimed at restricting cameras in veteran’s hospital rooms. The investigation uncovered emails and hospital records that show the hospital was concerned that his family members interfering with his care.

In this post we review the investigation and its impact on the use of surveillance cameras.

*** ****** ** ** elderly *** ***** * hidden ****** ** *** hospital ****. ******* ********** **** what **** **** *** substandard ****, **** **** outraged **** **** ******* the ****** ** * fake ***** ******** ******* to *** *******.

** ******** **** * VA ************* *** *** creation ** * **** aimed ** *********** ******* in *******’* ******** *****. The ************* ********* ****** and ******** ******* **** show *** ******** *** concerned **** *** ****** members *********** **** *** care.

** **** **** ** review *** ************* *** its ****** ** *** use ** ************ *******.

[***************]

**********

** ****, *** ****** of **** **-****-*** ****** Carnegie, ***** * ****** camera ** *** **** at ***** *. ***** VA ******* ******. ********’* ***-**-*** was *** ***** ** spot *** ******. *** family ********* *** ******** installed *** ****** ******* they **** *********** ***** for **********. ****'* ***:

***** ***** **** * hospital *** * ***** sugar-related ******* ***** ** vacation ** ********* ** IV *********. ***** ********* and ************ ** * VA ******** ****** ** home, *** ****** **** he ******** ***** ****** after **** *****-** **** a ******* **** *** off *** ****** ******* brain ****** ********** **** lack ** ******.

*** ****** ********** ** sue *** ********, *** shortly ***** *** ****** went **.

*** ** ******** **** it ********* *** ****** to ** **** ** monitor *********’* ****** ** all ***** *** ****** suggest *** ****** *** to **** *** ***, if ******, *** *********** with ******’* ******. ******* was ******** ******* ********* changing ******** ** ********* with *** ******* ****.

*** ******** ****** ** know “*** ** **** was ... ******** *** incline ******** ** *** patient’s ***, ******** *** rate ** ******** ** the *******’* ******* *** medication *****, ***/** ************* the *******.”

*** **** ***** *** them **** ***** * June * ********:


The ******

*** ****** ********* *** a***********.

******** ************** ********** **** it *** *** ***** to ** * ****** camera “****** **** ***** not ******* *** **** selected **** ********** *****,”******** *** ***** *** Times. *** ****** *** live-monitored *** ******** *** 43 **** ****** ** was *******.

****** ******** ** **** of * ** ************* would ***** **** *** hospital ****’* **** *** family ** ****.

VA ********

***** *** ***** ****** on ** *** *****, the ** ****** ** Inspector **************** ** *************. ** **** ***** in *** *******'* ******* record **** ******* ** “supplies ******* *** ******** changed ** **** *******, bed ********, **********/****** ******** which **** ******* **** done ** *** ******.”

***** ********** ************** *** ****** ****** was ********* *** **** patient ******* *** *** needed ******* ** *** being **** *** *********. It **** ********** **** overall ******** ******** ****-******* care **** *** ******** staff.

Other ********

** *** **** ** the *************, ** ***** VA ********* ******** ***** covert *******, *** ***** admitted ** ***** **** in *** ****, *** in *********** **** *** enforcement **************.

*** ************* **** ******** the ***** ********* ** VA *********. *** *******, VA ********* ********* *** are ********* ******** ** have ******* ** ******* areas, **** ********* *** exits, ******** ***** *** places ***** ********** ********** are ******. ** ****** all ***** ***** *** signage **** ********* ******* were *******.

** ******** *** ** hospitals *** ***** **** 75 ******* ** **** have ******* ** ******** areas ** **** **** are ***** ********* ** medical *****. *** ******* reported ********* **** ***** and *****. ***** ******** jail **********, ****** ****** seclusion ***** *** ***** labs.

***********

*** ***** ********* **** led ** *********** ** ********************** *** *** ** camera’s ** ** ******** rooms. *** *********** *** drawn ** ****** *** same **** *** *** released **** ******. ** the **** ** *** report, ***** ****** *** hospitals ******** ***** *** family, ******* **** ** **** committee.

****

**** ** *** *****?

Comments (4)

Yes. Especially for older patients who are more susceptible to getting infections in hospitals and who may not be in their right minds. Someone suffering dementia may very likely fiddle with their own feeding tubes, IV drips, etc. Having a camera in a patient room also allows one nurse to monitor multiple rooms and is hardly an uncommon practice in non-VA hospitals.

What is curious about this case is the reason the VA installed the camera in the first place. It looks like they were trying to gather evidence of family misbehavior to use in their defense in a lawsuit, but it's just as easy to spin it into a case where the hospital administration was concerned about a specific patient's safety based on incidents and inventory counts.

Case by case basis, and they should run their reasons by a lawyer first.

Maybe one day there will be clearly defined paramters that cover special circumstances where, as Kathleen pointed out, the patient may intentionaly or unintentionaly harm themselves, that allows a hospital to automatically video monitor a patient. Then for other cases where nefarious activity is suspected, a procedure the hospital can follow to get approval from a 3rd party, impartial entity for surveillance, similar to the way law enforcement is required to justify a warrant or injunction from a judge.

Where I think the hospital made a mistake was using a covert camera. A camera in plain view could be argued that safety was the only concern of the hospital. A covert camera means the hospotal went beyond the concern for safety into the realm of criminal investigation. If they suspected the man's family of interferering with his care, they should have notified police and left it up to police to justify and run a covert camera.

Actually, it should not be hidden and should be required for all patients and video provided to hopital and the patient upon request.

I have installed a hidden camera in a labor delivery wing where there was suspected ongoing family issues. Don't know of they actually ever used it. Was 10 years ago.

I just finished installing 28 cameras in patient rooms feeding three dvrs with the monitors located in the stations where the vital signs are monitored. They are for baker act patients, but many times the rooms are used for other patients. The dvrs have no hard drives, recording is against Hippa regulations. A patient has already complained and we now have to train the staff on how to mask views. This is a cost saver as a staff member has to sit in those rooms 24 hours unless there is another way to monitor the patient. I have done this probably 15 times in hospitals over the years.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Most Recent Industry Reports

NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact