Filmmaking / Directing : Should film crews be allowed in hospitals? by Amanda Toney

Amanda Toney
Shawn Speake

I don't see how it could hurt. Cameras have a way of making situations better. Nobody wants to mess up when they're being recorded.

Laurie Ashbourne

A few years ago, I was producing on a doc style shoot at Texas Children's Hospital. It was in conjunction with Downy/P&G cause marketing initiatives and had the star of Grey's Anatomy as a spokesperson. During pre-production, the P&G legal team and ours did a ton of legwork, and the director made a few trips to Houston to meet potential on camera patients. We had to do write ups of the patients to write the scripts for approval, knowing full well those patients may not be there when the cameras rolled. TCH specializes in children with cancer and other terminal illnesses so we were faced with double the permissions and consent, but the hospital marketing girl assured us that everything was in order. Cut to the first morning of the shoot , I'm standing in the lobby surrounded by gear and crew and execs from NY and it turns out little miss marketing hadn't cleared it with hospital staff and administration. Thankfully I was working with an extremely articulate, charming and level headed director and we spent the first scheduled day of production prepping a presentation to the hospital board while the crew went around town and shot B roll. Long story short, what the dean in the article says is more common than you think, everyone assumes clearances are taken care of... We did our shoot and wowed admin enough that they hired us directly to do their commercials and content and I'm still friends with some of the parents of the children we filmed.

Henk Brugge

Big problem in The Netherlands in 2012 as patients were filmed with a hidden camera and found themselves in a TV-reality show called Between Life And Death, talking to a doctor in the Emergency Room. Patients were not informed, had not given permission. Seven of them went to court and sued the hospital successfully. The show was axed after this one episode.

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