The hospital has launched a real-time monitoring system in which patients or guardians can view operating rooms and other wards through closed-circuit TV (CCTV). BK's move is considered very rare in the medical industry.
"We have decided to open video surveillance of patients upon their consent to keep our surgery procedures transparent. It will ensure patient safety and raise the credibility of our medical services," an official at BK hospital told The Korea Times.
Although many hospitals have surveillance cameras installed in their wards, they strongly oppose CCTV footage being broadcast outside the operating theatre.
Following a series of fatal accidents, public calls are growing for mandatory installation of security cameras to record any medical malpractice and enhance patients' rights.
In March, a six-year-old boy died six months after a tonsillectomy in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, last October.
His parents posted a public petition on the presidential website on July 21 urging for CCTVs to be mandatory in operating rooms. They stated that the hospital is avoiding responsibility by intentionally amending surgery records, and stressed the need for video footage to clarify the exact cause of death.
According to a survey conducted by Realmeter last month, among 500 people aged above 18, 73.8 percent of respondents agreed on mandatory installation of security cameras in operating suites.
In response to growing calls, on July 24, Rep. Kim Nam-kuk of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea submitted a revision bill obligating all hospitals to install security cameras and record surgery procedures upon the request of the patient.
The lawmaker organized a discussion session on the topic at the National Assembly on July 31, attended by lawmakers, various civic groups and officials of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The Korean Medical Association (KMA), which has been strongly opposing the bill, showed changed views at the discussion session. The KMA is the largest doctors' group in Korea with more than 100,000 members.
Song Myung-jae, a member of the KMA, stated, "We are not against enhancing patient's rights, but installing cameras should not be obligatory as many doctors think it will be disturb their surgical procedures."
source: The Korea Times