To avoid further scandals in operating rooms, South Korean lawmakers passed a law requiring the installation of cameras. A decision applauded by many, but criticized by the medical press.
YESThe distrust of the population is too great
At a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Welfare on 23 August, deputies from the ruling party and those from the opposition agreed on the introduction of a “law on the installation of surveillance cameras in operating theaters ”. It took six years of combat, due to resistance from the medical community, to achieve this concrete result. A first proposal was tabled in 2015 following the revelations of several shocking acts that had caused a stir in South Korean society. We remember this anniversary celebrated by medical staff next to an anesthetized patient, in 2014.
The contestation of the medical community remains strong. “It is an infringement of the rights of individuals through the exposure of personal data, an infringement of the rights of workers thus subjected to surveillance and a prejudice to the essential values of democracy, resulting from a climate of mistrust between the medical profession and patients”, said the Korean Medical Association, which has expressed its determination to appeal to the Constitutional Court if the law is passed by the National Assembly [elle a été adoptée le 31 août avec 135 voix pour, 24 contre et autant d’abstentions].
The medical community should however face reality, namely that the mistrust and concern of the population have reached a level which imposes such legislation. Inadmissible acts such as an operation performed by a non-doctor or sexual touching a sleeping person have been committed more than once. The situation is such that we can no longer be satisfied with hoping for a spontaneous restructuring of the profession.
In a poll carried out last June by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, 98% of those questioned expressed support for the installation of surveillance cameras in operating theaters. For its part, the National Human Rights Commission recognized last year the need, in the public interest and for the prevention of illegal medical acts, to authorize such a device with the patient’s consent.
“The medical community should not be obstinate”
Some medical establishments did not wait for the law to equip themselves with cameras, to the great satisfaction of the majority of patients and their families. The medical community should not persist in its unconditional opposition which does not take into account public opinion. Rather, it should cooperate in this legislative process, proposing possible other reasonable solutions. Above all, an effort is expected to put an end to the mistrust of