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Entries in Meritus Medical Center (1)

Wednesday
Dec292010

Banned at Birth: Maryland Hospital Bars Delivery Room Pictures and Video

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HAGERSTOWN, Md.) -- Laurie Shifler, pregnant with her eighth child, is preparing for a birth different from her seven previous experiences after her Maryland hospital banned photography and video in the delivery room until five minutes after the baby is born.

"My family has taken pictures of every single one of my children when they were seconds old. I have pictures of all seven of them on my chest, that new look, that new human being that you just brought into the world," Shifler said.

The hospital, Meritus Medical Center, formerly known as Washington County Hospital, implemented its policy Nov. 1.

"We felt it enabled the physician, midwives and staff to focus on the safety and health of the mom and the newborn and that it still allowed the cutting of the cord and photo opportunities of mom with baby," Mary Stuart Rizk, spokesperson for Meritus Medical Center, said.

The hospital, located in Hagerstown, said that it decided on the policy after surveying several hospitals in the region. Meritus said that the policy does not stem from lawsuits but from concern about mother and child.

Rizk, the hospital spokesperson, said that the hospital has received only one formal complaint since implementing the policy.

"We heard from one expectant mother in late September to complain about the pending policy change," Rizk said. "We have not had a single patient complaint since we implemented the policy on Nov. 1."

But Shifler said that many moms might not be aware of the policy. She found out by accident.

Shifler, the 36-year-old expectant mother, said it's too late to change doctors and hospitals. Her due date is Jan. 13. "I don't even know what the logistics would be with the insurance and just to find someone that would take me at 38 weeks. I've used him [my current doctor] for the last four kids," Shifler said.

She is hoping the hospital will change its stance.

"A picture at five minutes old versus five seconds old is a whole different picture."

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ABC News Radio