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Sweden looks to regulate camera-wielding patients

TT/The Local/pvs · 31 Aug 2011, 15:19

Published: 31 Aug 2011 15:19 GMT+02:00

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Värmland in central Sweden is among the county councils to move to regulate the opportunities for patients to film, according to a report in the Dagens Medicin newspaper.

The council has decided to act after a father at a birth turned his camera on the midwives in attendance instead of keeping it trained on his wife.

"Instead of filming the actual birth he filmed how staff were behaving," council lawyer Isabelle Jacobsson explained.

The move was considered a violation by the staff in question and the county has now developed a framework which forbids filming, sound recording, and photography within council premises.

According to Dagens Medicin, several other counties have policies to regulate this type of documentation, or are in the process of developing one.

However the regulations could ultimately prove to be toothless, Jacobsson explained.

Story continues below…

This is because a patient who records their conversations with healthcare services have the law on their side as long as they are part of the conversation.

"We speak with the patients if it is a confidence issue, but we can't take any legal steps," she said.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:04 August 31, 2011 by Mxzf
Just don't do anything wrong, and you have nothing to fear from ending up on youtube! Why would health workers fear getting filmed? ;)
17:20 August 31, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Mxzf

Precisely. Video phones are a great idea actually. Seeing as there are over 3,000 complaints of Swedish medical malpractice since 2009,over 700 since March 2011 alone and not 1 have been investigated, I am not surprised in the least that patients feel the need to protect themselves from malpractice. Their Swedish Health Ministry or the Swedish Government won't do anything, that is evident. The medical statistics look great to the OECD if you only have great records and statistics. After all, if you investigate, you have to have a record, and Sweden sure does not want that. No record, no statistics = no problem and Sweden still looks like a leader in world medicine.

I think video phones being on during your doctor visits may make those complacent non attentive doctors feel a bit of accountability if they know they are being filmed . I am totally sure accountability is a completely new concept to the Swedish medical proffession.

Maybe before you put gramma and grampa into a Swedish Death/care Facility, you should teach them to use a video cell phone too. God knows THERE is one place the poor abused old people could use some video evidence and some accountability.
17:23 August 31, 2011 by Toffee_apple
Perhaps if doctors and other healthcare staff did their jobs properly patients wouldn't need to do this. It's a known fact that a lot of Swedish doctors are incompetent. Just as the first commenter says, if you have nothing to hide, then nothing to fear!
17:55 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Of course that taping a conversation with any of the "doctors" taking care of you at a hospital, is the best way to prevent word versus word confrontation at the end, if there is something wrong with the way you were treated at the hospital.

I spent 8 months at the Karolinska and it was just because I taped conversations that I could prove how badly I had been treated, with the exception of the last doctor (a she) who proved to be the exception of the rule.

Once upon a time I learned about taping when I asked a friend of mine from the SÄPO (Swedish Secret Police) if I could tape a conversation, because a very low employee at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had told me that taping was forbidden in Sweden.

He told me: "As long as you form part of any conversation, you can have your tape recorder visible on top of the table or invisible under the table. It is your choice."

So, after being really mistreated at the Karolinska where they almost cut me my left leg, I decided to use one of the recordings where one of the "top" doctors confessed to my wife and me that he was in agreement that they did not treat me "properly". These conversations, plus an e-mail from a female doctor confessing almost the same, were the key for my complaints delivered to the Patients' Insurance and to the Social Authority ( Socialstyrelsen).

I just got some thousands of crowns for suffered "pain", thanks to my tape recorder and my angry wife and not thanks to the doctors of the Karolinska hospital's kindness.
18:24 August 31, 2011 by AugustWest
You can record conversations with doctors here, covertly???

How un-American sweden is. Ha, ha.

Really think that's pretty great.

I had a stem cell transplant in the US once years ago and was not allowed to openly record.

I had to do it covertly after first visit to an oncology Doc said "No, you can't record."

It was so complicated to absorb everything I was being told at each step of the way.

I recorded just to play it back at home and look up what I didn't catch or understand at the visits.

There it is not allowed unless the other party agrees. Same as a phone call. They, anyone, must agree to be recorded.
19:19 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
That is what the guy at the Foreign Ministry made me believe for years and years, until I met the "five fingers" from the SÄPO. Then, a whole horizon opened for me. I have tape recorders in any conceivable place.
20:45 August 31, 2011 by mibrooks27
The only government's that feel the need to ban things like this have something to hide. Look at Syria or Washington and all of the secrets about the damage done by their Wall Street clients.
21:24 August 31, 2011 by Abe L
Oh, someone must not want their incompetence shown in public. How about just doing your bloody job properly?
23:52 August 31, 2011 by wxman
I am so glad that I live in a country where freedom of speech is still OK (for the time being).
03:45 September 1, 2011 by Luke R D
Get rid of the evidence, ay?! Those crafty Swedes!
04:05 September 1, 2011 by rolfkrohna
Ytterligare censur. Sverige börjar bli som dom gamla fascist staterna, där makthavarna och alla statligt anställda alltid skyddade sig med regler och censur, så dom aldrig skulle kunna påkommas med att göra något fel eller behöva ta ansvar.

Tillåt det i lag istället. Vad hände med demokratin. Har man avskaffat den is Sverige, och som i det gamla Sovjetunionen ersatt den med en röst på förutbestämda block.
08:28 September 1, 2011 by karex
Reminds me of a situation in Brazil many years ago. Big business and corrupt government officials were taking advantage of a lot of native populations, until someone gave one of the chiefs a tape recorder... soon almost all tribes had at least one. They would tape everything, make copies and send it off to the press. Then things started to happen... Nowadays they use digital video :D
09:08 September 1, 2011 by dammen
Bravo rolfkrohna!

This is the first comment I have seen here written in Swedish. In all my years in Sweden I have never seen anything written so succinctly and so strongly in Swedish. It has reassured me that Swedes can have 'spunk' (if of course you are Swedish).

Maybe now is the time for Swedes to kick back and not just turn a blind eye hoping everything will be OK and the state will look after me. And the state of course just uses this to their advantage.

Expose the truth and reform will follow - my that sounds a bit reactionary even for me, but I am sorry to say, the health care system here in Sweden does need a bit of a shake up.
10:27 September 1, 2011 by johnny1939

Jag håller med dej 100%!
10:44 September 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Con el mismo derecho que rolfkrohna escribió un comentario en sueco en un foro en inglés, yo escribo un comentario en español para así dar paso a que otros escriban en alemán, chino, japonés, francés, tigriño o lo que sea.

Got it? To write in another language than English in an English speaking forum is simply a lack of respect for those who do not understand a word of Swedish.
11:45 September 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
post # 15


Naqbel mija fil-mija.

मैं एक सौ प्रतिशत सहमत हूँ.

Rydw i'n cytuno gant y cant.

Sorry, did you people who are trying to read Swedish news in English, because you can't understand Swedish (otherwise you would be reading the news in SWEDISH) not understand?

The translation is..."I agree 100%"

This is an English forum, if you are Swedish speaking on here, you need to speak English the same as the Arabic, French, Chinese etc. posters do. If you can not speak English, only Swedish, then how can you possibly understand the article enough to comment? If you want to reply in Swedish...go to a Swedish news site. This one is meant for English people who have a problem understanding Swedish, as you are well aware and are only trying to be inflamatory.
11:53 September 1, 2011 by Flappytango

big deal you miss one comment... you probaly should be trying to understand more than one word of swedish if you have an interest in this forum. or just paste it into google translate it will get you close enough.

"..simply a lack of respect.." HAHA like there is any respect for others in english on this forum?
12:12 September 1, 2011 by krrodman
Let me comment on this as a practicing physician.

The relationship between patient and doctor is a very important component of the medical process. I do not need to be "best friends" with a patient, but there must be a strong element of trust between doctor and patient.

Patients have often asked me to record conversations, and with rare exception I have always allowed it. In the vast majority of cases patients record a conversation in order to have the opportunity to review the medical plan. In fact I am in favor of patients using every means to improve their understanding. There have been many studies over the years that demonstrate clearly that patients remember only about 50% of what their doctor tells them. If a recording improves understanding, I am in favor of it.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if I were to learn that a patient recorded a conversation secretly, I would release them from my practice. The reason is simply this: a secret recording implies that there is a basic lack of trust. I would go so far as to say that a secret recording indicates that the patient considers the doctor their adversary rather than their health care advocate. If a patient does not believe that I am acting in their best interests to the best of my ability, then it is time for them to find another doctor.
15:00 September 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ krrodman

If you want to be completely honest, you must admit that there have been many disturbing facts in the news as of late concerning the medical prfession in gerneral.

I.E. Ambulatory care. Several women having perfectly healthy breasts removed because the surgeons did not review the lab work. Many misdiagnoses i.e. cancer, this year alone. Over 700 patient complaints since March of this year, over 3,000 since 2009, none of which have been investigated. There are many other instances I have read of as well. More than a few posters on this site alone have incurred problematic health care in Sweden, myself included from "vardcentrallen" as well as the hospital. I am not questioning your own ethics. The simple fact that you have resonded to this speaks volumes about your personal credibility as a doctor.

However you surely can understand how patients may have developed a mistrust of Swedish healthcare and have reservations about their own personal care.

I do agree with you. Tell the physician you want to record and as you say, you have no problem and if they are overt about it, they can choose another doctor. The reverse is true as well. If the physician DOES have a problem with the recording, then I would suggest that patient get out of their now and look for a new physician as the one he is looking at may not be the wisest choice.

I still stay malpractice complaints, whether real or perceived, need sincere investigation and, if found genuine, charges laid. No accountability and no liabilty open up the possibility of a very scary breeding ground for a laissez faire attitude within the medical profession
16:11 September 1, 2011 by krrodman

We completely agree with each other. I have been in practice for 30 years. In that time I have witnessed the seismic shift in health care in the USA from a practice in which the relationship between doctor and patient was the cornerstone of health care, to a practice in which government bureaucrats and insurance companies claim to represent the best interests of patients.

The very idea that a patient feels the need to record secretly a conversation with a physician because he doesn't trust the doctor is proof of how ugly things have become.

It saddens me.
17:16 September 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ krrodman

My sister lives in New York now and has spoken to me a great deal about medical care in the US. Fortunately she and her husband are in a financial position to be able to afford top notch medical insurance (which also has been compromised) Many citizens of the US are not so fortunate and it is not so pleasant.

I however, am now a Swedish citzen, originally from Canada. My comments

(# 19)were directed towards the Swedish health system which, also, as is the case with so many others in the world today, is substandard. Verbal repetition by the Swedish government for decades, i.e. "Sweden's Healthcare System Is first rate" being battered into the minds of the Swedish populous has worked in the past as did "Heath care in Sweden is free" inspite of the obvious fees, granted low ones. However, with internet and media availability today, it is more difficult to hide the actual truth and many Swedes have become aware and (rightly so) disillusioned with the blatant truth that it's medical system is faulty. However, the authorities hiding their heads in the sand and pretending nothing is wrong will not generate any confidence from patients whose concerns are fluffed away. It also will not begin to address and correct any issues, only perpetuate more. Thus...the patients perceived need to use cell phone video during their consultations in order to protect their health and their lives.
17:55 September 1, 2011 by krrodman

I do understand completely your perspective. My wife is a Swedish national and my in-laws live in Sweden. I have visited Sweden annually for 30 years and I am quite familiar with both the strengths(there are many) and weaknesses(there are many) of the Swedish health care system. In many ways the problems in Sweden are "equal and opposite" to the problems in the USA. For example, Sweden has universal access to a system that is slow, unresponsive, bureaucratic and disconnected from patients. On the other hand, in the USA a person with excellent insurance has access to unlimited care - often too much of a good thing - while too many people have limited access to care or face an enormous financial burden from a serious illness.

I do want to point out one thing to you. Health care in Sweden is not "free" in any sense of the word. It is paid for with taxes. It is a benefit/entitlement. While my point in some ways is a semantic one, all too often in my experience entitlements are taken for granted simply because a check or a benefit magically appears.
19:00 September 1, 2011 by soultraveler3
All the posters seem to be in agreement on this one.

This wouldn't be a problem if the healthcare "professionals" here did their jobs properly, took responsibility for and were held accountable for their actions.

I don't blame the man one bit.
19:58 September 1, 2011 by krrodman
Not to belabor the point, but I do have a big problem with a person secretly videotaping a physician at work, or frankly, anyone at work.

Does anyone believe that students should secretly videotape teachers?

Or, employees should secretly videotape their employers?

Is this really the path to a more open and compassionate society?
22:15 September 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

"Patients have often asked me to record conversations, and with rare exception I have always allowed it."

If you have nothing to hide about the treatment you are giving the patient, why should you deny his right to have in a tape what you both are going to talk about his treatment? Just wondering.
22:31 September 1, 2011 by krrodman
@ Belmar

Good question.

I welcome a recording for the purpose of retaining medical information. Rarely, a patient may be overtly hostile, angry and adversarial. The recording under those circumstances is not for the purpose of retaining medical information, but for the purpose of "trapping" the doctor in a lie or misstatement. I do not know what kind of work you are in, but I am certain that you have encountered a hostile client at one time or another.

My natural instincts are to try to diffuse the situation through conversation, but I do not permit a recording.
08:09 September 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
11:53 September 1, 2011 by Flappytango


"big deal you miss one comment... you probably (PROBABLY) should be trying to understand more than one word of swedish (Swedish) if you have an interest in this forum. or just paste it into google (Google) translate it will get you close enough."

And you, Flappytango, should understand that this is a forum in English, regardless if I understand or not Swedish. Or is it too hard for you?

22:31 September 1, 2011 by krrodman

In your # 18 comment you write: "Patients have often asked me to record conversations, and with rare exception I have always allowed it."

And now in your # 26 comment you write: "My natural instincts are to try to diffuse the situation through conversation, but I do not permit a recording."

Don't you think that you are not being consequent? Either you allow the recording of the majority of the conversations you are involved with a patient or you do not permit a recording"

Qué será, será, whatever will be, will be.
08:54 September 2, 2011 by Frank Arbach
Re Posts 11, 15 & 16, is there nothing in the site rules that posts should be in English? (Must admit I couldn't see anything specific)

As for the recording of medical consultations in Sweden, its an excellent idea which should be encouraged. Banning such recordings can only smack of 'something to hide'.
12:06 September 2, 2011 by krrodman

Let me try one more time.

I let the patient record unless I believe that the patient is adversarial and hostile. Trust is essential in the doctor-patient relationship. No trust - No relationship - No recording.

This is a rare event, indeed. Let me give you an example: The weight-lifter juiced on steroids, erythropoitin and testosterone. He was paranoid and aggressive. Wanted to record. When I suggested that he was juicing, he denied it. When I told him that his abnormal blood work indicated to me that he must be juicing, he went nuts. Ended up calling security at the hospital.

What would you have done?
19:21 September 2, 2011 by d'Artagnan
My opinion is that recording wit a tape recorder should be alowed if the one who is recording is part of the conversation. If he tryes to record a conversation were he doesnot form part, he should be penalized.
22:52 September 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
12:06 September 2, 2011 by krrodman

Thanks for the answer, but you actually did not answer my question, which is:

Do you allow a tape recording of any of your patients or don't you. To allow or not to allow, that is the dilemma.

I can see that you allow. Good. As far as what to do with your patient, I would have send him with Freud, Jung, Fröhm and Sidis to see it the four could coped with him. If not, call again the police, but the one in Germany. They are tougher. You know, one, two three
12:09 September 3, 2011 by krrodman

Neither doctors nor patients have unlimited rights. I allow my patients to record, but I reserve the right to not allow recordings under the most extreme circumstances.

Perhaps things are a bit different in the USA where medical malpractice is an "industry" and doctors are naturally defensive.
12:21 September 3, 2011 by lahlily
Interesting. I delivered my first child at Karolinska Sjukhuset in 2004. To say the least I did not like the midwife who performed the delivery. Seeing as this was our first child, and I am American (bit of an American trend/tradition), my husband (Swedish) video'd the delivery. Please note: I was 20 days OVER the due date... soon after, Karolinska changed their policy and now women can only go over by 14 days (and maybe it has changed more since?). It was a complicated delivery, I was induced and had been given too much meds... the midwife did not beleive me when I said "I am in labor" ... then she checked and confirmed I was right. Then she did not believe her assistant when I was yelling the baby was coming at just over 3 hours from the start of first contractions... when she came into the room, I pushed my baby out in 15minutes. Total time from start to finish less than 4 hours. I had a Grade 3 tear too boot. Nice. Thanks guys. No sounds were heard from my baby, you can hear my voice on the video saying, What is wrong, what is wrong with my baby? and you can see the midwife UNWRAPPING THE CORD which was wrapped around my baby's neck 2 TIMES. His color is terrible. At the end of the day, he was fine, thank God. There was NO documentation in my records stating he had cord around his neck not even one time. Midwife gave him top scores on color, sound, etc. Basically she lied. I showed video to my mother who is a nurse (RN) for almost 30 years and started out her career in labor and delivery, then neonatal intensive career - basically she knows her stuff - and she was appalled, and said the scores were completely wrong.

Yeah, I told various other people (other midwives, the physical therapist I had to go to afterwards for the Grade 3 tear) but it does not matter. The physical therapist told me that many of the midwives in Sweden do not know how to deliver babies anymore in Sweden. They just induce. (Dont think you were induced? Go back through your chart.) No I did not report my experience to my midwifes' supervisor. I do not think it would have mattered. And honestly it was just not something that I wanted to discuss for a long time.

But I do think the video must be of interest... the title would could be something like: "What NOT to do in a delivery" or "Basic Apgar scoring 101".

And of further interest: that year, we were a group of about 10 (non-Swedish) women having a babies all within a year-year and a half time frame. FOUR of us sustained Grade 3 OR HIGHER tears during delivery. This information alone supports what the physical therapist said to me, "the midwives in Sweden do not know how to deliver babies any longer".
17:05 September 5, 2011 by Addendum
The state of Swedish health care has long passed a crisis situation. Medical personnel (Doctors, Patientnämnden, Socialstyrelsen) freely abuse and murder patients through serial neglect and intentional, serial underfunding.

If you have not experienced it, you can not imagine the APATHY that exists in this system. I have never seen such horrific indifference to human life and human suffering. Even doctors and nurses leave their jobs because they say the system is not ethical. Patients are seen as annoying cost units who steal from the state. They're treated like annoying insects to be swatted away and/or squashed. Illness is a crime of deviant social behavior, punishable by death.

How can the world look to Sweden for the Nobel Prize in Medicine when the Swedish system knowingly, serially abuses and murders individuals in need of medical care? Sweden's social engineers have decided to keep the prole herd "strong" by letting sick people die. It's disgusting. Health care in Sweden is a Potemkin facade.

As far as I'm concerned, Sweden has NO right to honour anything medical related as long as Sweden serially, intentionally tortures its residents in need of care. What clout can the Nobel Prize in Medicine hold when it comes from an authoritarian state with no compassion, healing, empathy, etc. Everything that true medicine and health is built upon?!

My heart goes out to all those needlessly suffering in this cruel state, and I hope that you find some peace and know that some people do care and are fighting for you.
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