Site Content


Don't listen to me! Recording without consent in healthcare

Is recording without consent a real concern?

 Are you being recorded without consent? Imagine your reaction when you discover a patient or family member has been secretly recording your interactions with them. A MJ follower recently had such a discovery and was (not surprisingly) concerned...

T.U. is an RN from Central New York and writes:
"...I was appalled to find that a patient had coordinated with family to record interactions with their health providers. A family member recorded (our voices) on a smartphone by simply leaving it on the table while another filmed encounters on another phone. All this without the nurses knowing about it. We found out about it only when a recording was accidentally played while a housekeeper was cleaning the room."

 Discovering you've been recorded without your knowledge or permission stirs emotion and puts us on the defensive. Why would a patient or family want to record our actions? Are they upset about our care or waiting to catch proof of a mistake? Perhaps the family just wants to have a record of the conversation to remind themselves of our instructions. Those who provide care outside the hospital environment may be more aware of the potential for being recorded. EMS providers and firefighters frequently provide care in public locations and are always in a position to be recorded by bystanders. Radio transmissions are also recorded and often are played on various websites.
Recording devices have come along way

While there are many reasons why someone would record (audio/video) we often jump to the negative conclusion...a reasonable defense mechanism when were recorded without our permission or knowledge. If nothing else, finding out you've been recorded without your knowledge or permission, taints the environment of care.

The ever increasing popularity of smartphones and other portable devices makes covert recording an almost certain eventuality.  And here in New York, its perfectly legal to do. Okay, disclaimer time - I'm not a lawyer, I have no background in legal matters and Mitigation Journal is not (emphasis not) a blog for legal opinion or recommendation.With that in mind, lets move on...

Recording your healthcare providers conversation without consent is perfectly legal in New York and many other states. There are only 12 states with "all-party" legislation that requires consent for recording. That being said, I think its important to take a calm approach to the situation.
Upsetting as the situation may be, recordings made covertly (or overtly, for that matter) may not be of benefit during legal proceedings. While medical records are seldom questioned for authenticity, recordings made by patients and families may be. They can be edited, tampered with and it may be difficult to prove exactly who is talking on the recording.

Here are a few articles that I found helpful:

Be Careful Who and What You Are Recording

When Patients Audio Record Without Your Consent

Family may use secret recording in medical negligence suit

Secretly recording conversations with doctors... Is it legal?



MJ Podcast 239 West Nile Virus

Special joint podcast episode with the MedicCast and This Week in Virology

What is it about West Nile virus that has everybody talking? Do the number of infections and deaths from WNV this year make sense? Is this hype or example of emerging infectious disease threats to come?

Join me, Jamie Davis (MedicCast/Nursing Show/Insights in Nursing), Dr. Vincent Racaniello and Dr. Dickson Despommier (This Week in Virology) for everything you wanted to know about West Nile virus and more!

In this episode:
  • Where did WNV come from? 
  • How did WNV get to the United States? 
  • What's driving the 2012 epidemic and is this really the worst ever? 
  • How can we apply current knowlege to other emerging infectious diseases?

Click player below to listen now or direct download here

Mitigation Journal is listener supported. Please consider making a donation or rating us in iTunes.


Schools fail bio preparednes 101

U.S. Schools receive a failing grade in pandemics

If a biological agent targeted schools and children would try to prevent it?

Despite the global awareness of biological terrorism, emerging infectious diseases and the impact of diseases such as influenza, a majority of schools in the United States remain unprepared for a biological event. Only 40 percent of schools have updated their infection control/pandemic preparedness according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study, conducted by Saint Louis University suggests that many schools in the United States are not prepared for a biological event despite experiences from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic event. As the threat from naturally occurring infectious disease and intentional acts of bioterrorism grow, the importance of community preparedness will increased. We know that one of the keys to a successful outcome in disaster situations is the preparation of local response agencies. Traditional responders and non-traditional responders (public health, hospitals) are the primary responders in any community during times of crisis. Unfortunately, hospital and public health preparedness may still be lacking. Schools should be included in the non-traditional responder group, considered part of critical infrastructure and as such, should be given direction for biologic preparedness according to their role in a biologic event. Best media coverage from Science Daily (
Could school preparedness be any worse? Yes.
These findings question the general preparedness of critical infrastructure. The Saint Louis study looked at responses from about 2000 school nurses encompassing only in 26 states. If the results truly represent the biological preparedness efforts (or lack thereof) the school preparedness situation could be much, much worse and equate to greater risks. Closing schools during a biologic or pandemic event will not replace preparedness as studies have shown that kids don't often stay home.

Traditional elementary and high schools draw students together from a variety of social, economic, and cultural background. Bringing a student population together to share ventilation systems, food, water and sanitation, in close quarters, provides opportunity for disease spread. With this in mind, school systems must be a leader in educating students on proper hygiene and infection control measures. Non-pharmacological  interventions are vital to prevent the spread of disease and include hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and appropriate social distancing. These simple measures are important for everyday health promotion but could be even more important in preventing or limiting the spread of influenza.
By the numbers, per the Saint Louis study.
According to the Saint Louis study, less than one-third of the sample schools maintained a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Even more concerning is the over 20% of the staff in these schools have no members trained in the schools disaster plan. Infection control training for students was reported by only one third of schools and conducted usually once a year or less.

The study also asserts a positive note, finding that nearly 75% of school nurses have recieved seasonal flu vaccination.While this is good news, its only a drop in the bucket. One person (school nurse) vaccinated for seasonal influenza will do little to stop the spread of the disease. When it comes to emerging diseases and intentional biologic releases there may be no vaccine and we'll need to rely on those non-pharmacological interventions.