Reality Show Gets Hospital Fined for Filming Death

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Although we may assume that most hospital-related injuries are physical in nature, they can occasionally take on a different form. A New York hospital is now facing backlash and penalties for allowing a reality TV show to film the death and distress of emergency room patients.

A New York hospital has been ordered to pay $2.2 million to the family of a man whose death was filmed for the reality TV show NY Med. According to the article, the television crew continued filming the death of a man hit by a garbage truck, despite being told to stop by hospital staff. The complaint also states that the film crew apparently aired footage of a patient in distress without receiving consent to do so.

Although the reality show is based on cases that come into the emergency room, they are supposed to receive consent from filmed patients before airing the footage. According to the complaint, the spouse of the man filmed while dying was not made aware the footage existed until seeing it on television. Her complaint was sent to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department for violation of HIPPA laws.

Although the hospital did not get authorization from patients to be filmed for the reality television show, it denies any wrongdoing. The result of this case has had a major impact on the rules for filming patients in treatment areas. A federal directive now makes it malpractice for healthcare providers and facilities to allow filming of patients without their permission.

Although this is not the typical medical malpractice lawsuit, it does set important guidelines for film crews, doctors and facilities to follow when filming educational footage. Individuals that have experienced this type of invasion of privacy may benefit by speaking with a medical malpractice attorney.

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