Paramedics film heart attack patients without consent

A controversial research project headed by the University of Edinburgh has seen paramedics secretly filming patients suffering heart attacks.Miniature body cameras have been worn by 12 paramedics to see what happens when patients suffering cardiac arrests are resuscitated.

According to the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) the project, which is still in its preliminary stages, has been designed to improve training and save lives.

Despite the SAS claiming that strict measures have been put in place to ensure that only those involved in the research project have access to the footage, the project has raised concerns over invasions of privacy due to patients not providing consent to be filmed.

Jackie Baillie, health spokeswoman for Scottish Labour, said: ‘I am surprised the ambulance service has chosen to take an approach of secrecy with this. I welcome research and training which will improve lifesaving chances for people who suffer heart attacks. But for there to be no knowledge of filming, no consent sought and no transparency is simply unacceptable.

‘At one of the most upsetting, vulnerable and private moments of a person’s life, we must have respect for both the privacy of the patient and their next of kin. Before such programmes are introduced in the future, we must ensure people know what is happening.’

Full details of the project and results are yet to be published, yet some have argued that should this scheme result in the advancement of cardiac health care, its benefit would be difficult to deny.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 20 May 2013.

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