Chicago Hospital Freaks, Nearly Bans Visitor For Taking Photo From Window

Kurt was at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago yesterday, where his father is in rehab after a recent stroke, and he was nearly kicked out because he took a photo of the setting sun out the window from a hallway.

Before even reviewing the picture, I heard a woman yell, “What do you think you’re doing?!” I looked up, seeing an angry looking woman briskly coming down the hall at me.
“Taking a photo of the sun,” I replied.
“You’re in a hospital!” she shrilly declared.
“Yes, obviously.”
“I’ve called security, you stay here!”

Kurt didn’t stay there, but told her his father had been there for 3 weeks now and he was going to go join him at dinner.

And so I did. I joined my father at dinner. Within minutes, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was a security guard.

“Sir, can you come with me?”


“Were you taking photos in the hospital?” he asked, seemingly bored.

“Yes, I took a photo out the hallway window in the 3rd floor of the sun.” I showed him the photo.

“Okay, just don’t do it again. Thanks.” It seemed like he was just a guy doing his job so I agreed and went back to sit with my father.

“See, they’re all pinheads,” commented my father.

But that wasn’t the end of it—a hospital official joined them before the dinner was over and “explained” the problem:

He exasperatedly explained to me that I could not take photos anywhere on the hospital grounds because it violated the employees’ rights. I was also told that I was not allowed anywhere but with my father. Failure to comply with these requests would result in being escorted by the still present security guard. At this point, he also demanded my driver’s license as proof of the incident.

Okay, so let’s look at some possible reasons to ban photographs at a hospital:

  • to protect the privacy of employees;
  • to protect the privacy of patients;
  • to prevent situations where someone taking pictures may get in the way of helping the sick and injured;

It seems reasonable that those three needs can be met with a sign posted at every entrance that says something like, “Please do not take photographs of employees or patients. No cameras allowed in hallways or treatment areas.” Hey, and then you could also tell employees to memorize and repeat those two restrictions one time only to offenders, along with “Hospital policy!” at the end. If they spy a repeat offender, they call security. Another problem solved! You’re welcome!

In other words: We get that the hospital wants to protect the privacy of employees and patients, but obviously a simple explanation of the no-photos policy would have sufficed. Bringing two employees to twice interrupt a visitor’s dinner with his father is the kind of overreaction that happens when you equate photographs with terrorism, and cameras with guns.

Kurt writes,

I wanted to point out that I didn’t take a picture of any person, or that I couldn’t possibly know their absurd policy since there was no signage posted anywhere. And if a search of their site is any indication, the only person who is aware of this policy is the the head of security himself.

But he didn’t say anything, because his father is there in rehab and he didn’t want to get kicked out.

We tried contacting Resurrection to find out what their official photo policy was, but we were transferred from the front desk to security, then given a number to guest relations that didn’t work. (The security guy said it was probably closed for the evening.) Nobody we actually spoke with was willing to say anything about a photo policy for visitors.

con_myimaginaryphotoseminar.jpg This writer thinks there’s another reason for all the photo banning currently in vogue: it’s a superstitious attempt to retroactively prevent 9/11 from ever having happened. Letting a stranger shoot a photo has become a symbol of invasion and assault, of scheming and revenge. Or maybe it’s also a fear of Flickr. At any rate, this writer half-seriously suggests maybe earmarking some public funds for a national re-education campaign about the moral neutrality of “Taking Photos.”

“Hospital forbids photos of the sun!” [fiftytwofifty]

(Photos: security guard: Getty; seminar: kerryank)


Edit Your Comment

  1. oldtaku says:

    The obvious real reason for this rule (and the reason they’re all so freaked out): so nobody has any photo evidence of them doing anything incredibly stupid or negligent.

  2. Echomatrix says:

    Don’t we have a lawyer in here that can shed some light on all this photo taking? Last time I looked it wasn’t against the constitution to take photos. Especially where there isnt a sign

  3. Echomatrix says:

    Probably should have said he was taking pictures of his “dying” dad then burst into tears. That would have shut her up and especially if he asked for her supervisor.

  4. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @sarusa: No, patient confidentiality has something to do with it as well. I can see the hospital’s point, inasmuch that they don’t want youtube wackiness from a hospital getting out there.

    It was handled badly, but I can see where the hospital is coming from.

  5. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve brought a camera to a hospital – usually after the birth of a baby, to snap pictures. I’ve never once been told I can’t, and have even had nurses hold the babies up for photos! Their photo rules should be clearly posted, or ban cameras, but I don’t know how they’ll be able to adequately enforce that rule though – almost every cell phone sold nowadays can take pictures.

  6. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @Echomatrix: Hospital could be private property. Their rules.

  7. Lance Uppercut says:

    What if your wife just had a baby? Can you take pictures of it?

    When my daughter was born I could take all the pictures I wanted in the room, just none of the nursery or any common area.

  8. jadenton says:

    The reaction by the hospital is over the top. Clearly something else is up. To ask for a driver license is pure intimidation. Private institution that want to prohibit such behavior, but for them to spring this on someone and then threaten them is abusive. Write your attorney general a letter, and send them a copy. Be sure to mention you are talking to a lawyer about the emotional distress. Mention the guard and hospital director type name. Let the worthless little shits think twice next time they feel like pushing someone around.

  9. dweebster says:

    Every hospital I’ve been in seems to have cameras mounted in many places. Maybe this hospital too. If they do, maybe you should grab that security guard and frantically show him a mounted camera – which would most definitely be “taking pictures” of employees and patients. And possibly, God forbid, of the setting sunset.

    Dumb policy that was probably written in a blanket fashion without any regard for the reality of a hospital. I took a bunch of pictures within a hospital when my kid nearly died, and if I had been denied because of some stupid and unreasonable policy like this I would have damn sure pushed the issue. Thankfully he lived, we and the staff were damn happy to see it and the pics are a memento for him to remember his fight.

    TAKING PICTURES OF A SUNSET – OUTSIDE THE BUILDING? Last I checked, the sun does not ask to remain anonymous and has absolutely no problems with anyone in the world photographing it, even in the buff, at any time.

  10. FF_Mac says:

    Nobody told us to stop taking pictures when our girls were born. We even have pictures in the operating room…of course the employee’s privacy was protected.

    They all have masks on!

  11. FF_Mac says:

    @dweebster: Maybe the sun needs to sign a model release!

  12. trinidon2k says:

    Don’t people take photos and videos when kids are born?

  13. scarletvirtue says:

    @sarusa: When my stepdad was in the hospital (one of the many times), he’d gotten some really shitty treatment from the nurses, so my mom took pictures to document his injuries that he’d sustained *in* the hospital!

  14. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I think there’s a major difference, though, between the pediatric ward and a floor where there are patients recovering from strokes. You’re in bad shape. I lost my mind in a Best Buy the other day because a kid was taking my picture with a camera on display, god only knows how I’d react if I had a colostomy or something and some stranger who I didn’t know was running around taking snapshots. It’s how pictures like lemonparty get on the internet.

    Again: hospital overreacted. But you should be ensured your privacy in a hospital.

  15. sleze69 says:

    Resurrection Medical Center…file that in the memory banks.

  16. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @dweebster: RTFA. The pictures were taken from a hallway inside the hospital, out a window. The hospital employee saw suspicious behavior.

  17. Honus says:

    This, while overreaction actually makes sense. The enforcement is a little over the top but there are plenty of legit reasons as to why a hospital would want to prevent photographers from snapping around the hospital.

    1. HIPAA. Cower in fear of the almighty hand of the federal government here. Give yourself a HIPAA violation and you’re looking at serious fines from the feds and issues with licensing boards and almost every regulatory body. HIPAA is no joke. Anything that might identify a patient by name, chart, etc, as seen by the camera could be a problem. Hypothetically you shouldn’t be able to get to any place where you could garner such info, but it’s the hospital’s job to prevent it from happening.

    2. General protection of other patients. If I’m in the hospital, the last thing I want is some random guy coming in to take photos of me.

    3. Protecting the workers. We’re a litigious society enough as it is. Hospitals will have no need for a wannabe Jacob Riis running around taking pictures of negligence (whether real or imagined).

    4. Photography rights. While they don’t have rights to the sun, for example, most hospitals make it pretty clear that they have rights to use photos taken in the hospital by their people for their publications. (This is a bit of a stretch, but it’s something to think about).

    There are probably more, but these are the first I could think of. It actually makes sense, albeit the enforcement was pretty awful.

  18. bohemian says:

    Hmm this sounds more like they fear liability for what goes on in the hospital. If they are going to have a camera policy they need to post it on the front doors if they expect people to know they have one. They can’t just go running after people for rules nobody knows about.

    There was a hospital in Chicago that was having former patients with old hospital bills arrested under some obscure Illinois law as part of their collection attempts. I think it was this same hospital but now I can’t find the news story. Sounds about the same level of caring.

  19. MercuryPDX says:

    “See, they’re all pinheads,” commented my father.

    ROFL… My dad prefers ‘fucking bananas’ over pinheads.

  20. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I can imagine a multitude of reasons why the hospital would freak out over people taking pictures…patient and staff privacy, possible malpractice evidence, strict HIPAA regulations, not to mention the freakout and paranoia over terrorism.

    Having a cow because somebody is taking pictures of the sun is a bit much, but I’m sure the initial reaction was to the fact somebody had a camera and was using it..a third party wouldn’t have known what he was taking a picture of the sun, and the paranoid reaction would be that he’s taking pictures of the parking garage because he wants to blow it up later.

    It was handled extremely poorly. All the hospital had to do was have one of the staff kindly inform Kurt that they don’t allow cameras inside the hospital…let him take the picture of the sun, and be done with it. From the sounds of it, I’m surprised the guard didn’t reach for his Tazer.

  21. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @Honus: You get it. HIPAA is there for a reason, and I can’t begin to tell you how I’ve gleaned details about someone by looking at the background of a picture.

    I’m like the guy from Psych without my father being Roger Dorn.

  22. homerjay says:

    WIth a policy like that their maternity business must be BOOMING. Sorry mom, you can’t take pictures of your brand new baby until you get home.

  23. forgottenpassword says:

    man, I really hate how places freak out when you take pictures.

    I am glad now that most cellphones come with the ability to ake pictures.

    I know stores & places have policies, but quite frankly I could care less when all I am doing is taking an innocent photograph of something & I am NOT an investigative reporter or competitor.

    I am beginning to really hate places/businesses that treat you like crap because you MAY be up to no good. Dont treat me like a criminal unless I actually AM one. Your policies be damned if I am not doing anything truely wrong.

  24. GoBobbyGo says:

    Huh. Resurrection’s a big company (somehow the name implies to me that they’re going to be just a tiny bit less upset if you die, but that’s probably me). My baby was born in a different Resurrection hospital (St. Francis/Evanston) a couple of months ago. We took pictures all over the place and nobody said boo. They even let me bring a camera into the operating theater so I could get a picture of my son about ten seconds after he was cut out (though they were very clear telling me ahead of time I couldn’t shoot or record any of the actual procedure)

  25. MercuryPDX says:

    @Echomatrix: (Don’t mean to jump on YOU specifically for this, but you mentioned it…)

    Maybe you can explain this whole “needs a sign” mentality; specifically how in the absence of a sign, common sense as well as asking permission before doing something is forfeit?

    There’s no sign posted in or outside my house that says “Do not leave the house naked when you walk the dog.”, yet common sense tells me a naked stroll through the neighborhood is not a smart idea.

    There are no “No smoking” signs in or around my office or my friend’s houses, does that mean it’s OK to assume it’s OK to smoke there?

    People complain about advertising and billboards, so I can only imagine the uproar if “Rules” signs that noted everything you can or cannot do began popping up everywhere.

    My point is, common sense (Maybe the hospital doesn’t want me to take pictures?) and asking permission (“Excuse me nurse? Is it ok if I take a picture of the sun setting outside the window?”) have been replaced by a sense of entitlement so large, that the only solution is an all inclusive list of “rules” twice that size posted for all to see.

  26. seth1066 says:

    Ever meet one of those people who can whip up an accurate pencil sketch of someone in about 5 minutes?

    “I’m sorry, but hospital policy requires you to wear a blindfold while you visit your father… and you better not bump into anything while your here.”

  27. humphrmi says:

    A couple of my own observations:

    1) The guard came by, politely asked him to not take pictures, the OP agreed, the guard said “thanks”, problem solved. Then, some wacked out underpaid lackie who didn’t think that enough consumer abuse had occurred in the previous incident came by, berated the OP further, and demanded his drivers license.

    2) This policy is PURE BS. I’ve had three kids, all at Weiss Hospital in Chicago, and in every case we had cameras and video cameras for the event. (No before you ask, we didn’t picture or film any of the really gross parts). Anyway, the nurses and doctors were the first to tell me when it was time to get our cameras out. And, they were hamming it up, almost upstaging the “star” (our babies) with their antics. One doctor took the video camera and walked around the ward, filming people who were also hamming it up. It was a huge party. It was the best experience I ever had. Employee privacy, indeed.

    OK maybe Resurrection has different policies. Fine. But they MUST know that those policies are way different than every other hospital, and they should thus POST SIGNS about their policy. Otherwise, it’s just BS that somebody made up because they’re an underpaid under appreciated pinhead.

  28. MercuryPDX says:

    @MercuryPDX: And as a caveat: Yes the hospital was a bit over the top with enforcement, but do you think the nurse would have reacted the same way if he asked first?

  29. Tank says:

    Wow, I took the shit out of pictures when both of my grandkids were born. Nobody seemed to care. Pictures in the hallway, pictures of their nurses, pictures in the cafeteria, even pictures of the beer and pizza we brought in.

    I agree with his dad. Pinheads.

  30. Honus says:


    And you don’t see a difference between taking pictures on a medical/rehab floor as opposed to a birthing environment? You’re making a pretty ridiculous jump to assume that a medical/rehab floor should have the same rules as a maternity floor. One of the two represents a huge lifetime event, but I’ll leave you to guess which that is.

    And in the case of your experience, the doctor has waived his right to not have you film it, as has the staff. Clearly this nurse did not give the same courtesy but that’s up to her.

  31. cwsterling says:

    so what happens when a patient wants to start taking pictures of the lovely sunset from his bed room window? are they going to kick him out or ask for his drivers license.

  32. strathmeyer says:

    “Please leave me alone, and don’t bother me again.”

  33. sibertater says:

    I used to work for a county hospital and I have several pictures of nurses sleeping on third shift. Good times.

  34. sibertater says:

    HIPAA, people. Let me count the ways that violates HIPAA.

  35. humperdinck says:

    Photographs steal people’s souls. Fact.

  36. breny says:

    How does taking a picture of the sun violate HIPAA? Is the sun a patient of the hospital?

    The inmates are running the asylum.

  37. Me - now with more humidity says:

    I had to go to the Federal Building in Jacksonville, Florida, last month to pick up some IRS forms. The guard with a gun at the metal detector made me take my camera phone to my car before I could get into the building.

  38. stereogirl says:

    seems that photos are banned all over the place these days. i am one of those people that takes my camera everywhere and i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve been told to stop taking pictures of seemingly benign things. One such incident was outside a business building in downtown Portland, OR. Apparently taking a picture of a cool looking land mark or sign is now against “policy”.

    @breny: i can’t see how taking scenic pictures violates HIPPA. He was clearly not taking a picture of an employee, patient, or anything IN the actual hospital. I wonder if people are allowed to take pictures of their newborns in the hospital these days or could that be construed as a terrorist attack?

  39. apex says:

    I’m interested to know if the OP actually handed over his DL.

  40. satoru says:

    HIPPA is a very real and scary thing for hospitals to deal with. Its like Sarbanes Oxley but with actual teeth and about a billion times worse.

    Patient privacy information is also of highest priority in these situations. As a patient unless you give express permission NO ONE is allowed to know your condition. Even your own family except under very specific conditions.

    It sound crazy but the consequences of not enforcing HIPPA are very real to these hospitals. Here’s another thing hospitals must adhere to JHACO. Which is basically an ISO type of certification that your staff knows the basic process and procedures for everything in the hospital, like what to do in a fire, or what a Code Pink is. When you are audited, if your staff overall doesn’t do well, you lose all federal funding immediately.

    So maybe I’m just a visitor taking a picture… OR I’m an auditor testing your staff and not stopping me gets you a big fat FAIL and you lose your funding.

  41. mikelotus says:

    @MercuryPDX: you must be from china or burma or some place like that. let me explain how things work in the western world. my kids were born in the hospital as most kids are here, not in the local villages. we take pictures of our newborns, mothers and ourselves with the newborns. i even took picture of mine in the lamp area as the nurse held him up. the nurse smiled nicely for the camera. never did i ask and never was i expected to ask for permission. this was at mass general hospital. these do work different in our part of the world.

  42. barfoo says:

    @satoru: Maybe. But in that case the employees should actually know the policy and be able to explain it. The real failure here is to state and publicize the policy. All a visitor really needs is to an easy way to know what the rules are. A sign would help, but employees who are informed–and deal with violations in a reasonable fashion–are even more important.

    There are masses of fail here in that regard.

  43. MercuryPDX says:

    @mikelotus: What does Burma or China have to do with it? The nurse didn’t say squat to you when you took your camera out, and even encouraged you… so? Common sense tells you it’s OK to take pictures of your newborn… what does it tell you about shooting random photos around the other areas of the hospital? Good idea? Bad idea?

  44. FF_Mac says:

    @GoBobbyGo: They allowed pics of the procedures for our girls. For the second one (a much more planned and calm event) they even posed for a picture before cutting, and we snapped a shot of my wife’s uterus (at her request).

    Family slide shows just haven’t been the same since!

  45. barfoo says:

    @MercuryPDX: No, we don’t need signs for EVERYTHING, but photography is an activity that is generally permissible in our society. How are we to know which activities are okay? Should I ask a nurse whether it’s okay to wear a red shirt, or whether I can wear a wristwatch, or do a crossword puzzle? There might be contexts in which that’s inappropriate behavior, but no ordinary person would know that without an explicit warning.

    In some places, such as the security areas of airports, signs do indicate that photography is prohibited. That’s fine–but the need for a sign indicates that most people’s assumption is that in general it’s fine to take pictures.

    Your examples are actually quite illustrative. No, it’s not okay to walk around naked in most places (and there are laws against it!), but there are of course nudist colonies where that’s true. And smoking without permission is a no-no NOW, but forty or fifty years ago it wasn’t; that norm has evolved. Perhaps one day our attitudes toward photography will change, and we will feel the need to ask permission to take a picture (personally, I’d ask someone for permission to take a picture of them, or of something associated with them–their pet, their artwork, etc., but I wouldn’t ask the people around me if it was all right for me to photograph a sunset). So a ban on photography is one of those things that ought to be explicit.

  46. Yoni K says:

    Labor and Delivery: Happy place.
    Rest of Hospital: Not so much.

  47. BlondeGrlz says:

    So I’ll grant that a rehabilitation floor and a birth floor are two different places. But am I the only one who’s ever seen hospital pictures of actual sick people? Car accidents victims, returning soldiers, even people getting chemo – very often surrounded by smiling nurses. Should all those family members be harassed by security? I’m with the commenters who say if taking a picture out a window is such a HUGE violation of something, the policy should be posted.

  48. humphrmi says:


    “Sir, I’m sorry but we don’t allow pictures on this ward. Please put your camera away.”


    “I’ve called security, you stay here!” …and… “At this point, he also demanded my driver’s license as proof of the incident.”

    Hopefully you see the difference between the reasonable situation and the one where someone’s being a pinhead.

  49. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Between the operating room, recovery room, and patient room, I took over 600 pictures of my son the day he was born.

    Had they given me the slightest amount of grief over it, all hell would have broke loose. There is NO replacement for those pictures.

  50. KogeLiz says:

    @barfoo: My thoughts EXACTLY.

  51. KogeLiz says:

    I have pictures of my Dad in the hospital – in the ICU. He had his own room… so I didn’t think twice about taking photos. I certainly wouldn’t think twice if I wanted to take a picture outside the window.
    Why would I?

    Unless I was walking around taking photos of people I didn’t know, taking a picture where there are lots of doctors and patients around, or using flash photography in a darker quiet area — i wouldn’t think it would be a problem.

    Apparently there was a rule on our Public Transit that you couldn’t use photography. I had friends tell me they were approached by security. They just said, “Don’t use your camera in the subway, please”. An article was in the paper about it… because no one knew that it was not allowed. But as of a couple of months ago, they said it was okay to take pictures.

  52. MercuryPDX says:

    @barfoo: I have no issue with photography. My point is more that just because there’s no sign on every floor, door, and window of a hospital saying “You cannot take photos here.”, some voice inside you must tell you that “I really should not be taking photos here.”, right? If you really don’t know if it’s ok or not, would it hurt to ask… if only to avoid a scene like the OP’s?

    Norms are different, but it shouldn’t necessitate the need for signs decrying every little thing, everywhere. They usually evolve out of a continual problem (like in your airport example). The OP’s incident could be the only instance of a camera outside the maternity ward for the past 10 years. Does the one instance merit the need for the posting of “No Photography” signs across the entire hospital?

  53. MercuryPDX says:

    Unless I was walking around taking photos of people I didn’t know, taking a picture where there are lots of doctors and patients around, or using flash photography in a darker quiet area — i wouldn’t think it would be a problem.

    That’s exactly my point. In your case there’s no need for a “No Flash Photography” sign. Does that mean they should post one anyway because someone might lack the common sense to know “I should not be taking flash photos in a darker quieter area.”?

  54. humphrmi says:

    @MercuryPDX: I think we’re talking about shades of grey here, not absolutes. I wouldn’t suggest a sign on every floor for every thing. But clearly there are enough stories of people who have used cameras freely without incident in hospitals (and not just the maternity wards) that the hospital administrators should be able to discern between signing everything and signing a few things they feel strongly about that your average person might not know.

    Like the plenty of people here who have taken pictures in hospitals without issue. I find it hard to believe that the hospital administrators don’t recognize that a no-camera policy is a deviation from the norm and that many people bring cameras into hospitals for innocent reasons. Ergo, a little communication never hurts.

    But this hospital’s response wasn’t reasonable, it also was extreme. They weren’t satisfied after the security guard talked to the OP, and the two agreed that he would abstain from pictures. No, someone had to come over, get all hysterical about it, and demand his driver’s license. Sorry, it’s over the top.

  55. BikeRanger says:

    Sounds like the nurse overreacted, but HIPPA (patient privacy) is a very real concern. My ex, a CCRN, once had a celebrity in her care and they had constant problems with paparazzi and stalker-like amateurs sneaking around trying to get pictures.

    In the US, it’s permissible for photography to be banned on most private property, but a sign should be posted. It’s also assumed that even in public places, people have a right to privacy when they are in a place like a changing rooms or medical facility. I’d think an expectation of privacy in a hospital is reasonable.

    But the guy was shooting of a sunset, out a window. Perhaps the nurse was worried because some minor celebrity was down the hall, or thought he was plotting to blow up the parking lot, or maybe she was just on a power trip.

    See this PDF for some lawyerly info about photograpy in public places: []

  56. bukz68 says:

    @MercuryPDX: I (and probably everyone else in here) thinks it’s common sense not to take a photograph of another patient, a doctor, a nurse etc.

    Apparently everyone but you thinks it’s ok to take a picture OUT a damn window, or of one’s own family member (judging from the comments so far).

    You’re probably the only one in here who thinks that there is some iron clad, non-negotiable rule that photographs are to be banned in and around hospitals… which means that it’s NOT COMMON SENSE. It’s YOUR sense.

    What is common sense is for the camera Nazi lady to flip her shit over something that could have been handled more diplomatically and to the better satisfaction of everyone involved. The issue here is not the signs, or lack thereof. The problem with this country isn’t the public’s need for every rule to be posted. It’s the crazy fucking fascists who blow their lid at the tiniest, most dumb fucking incidencts. They manufacture conflict where none was before and this incident is a PERFECT example.

  57. StevieD says:

    Years ago when I worked at the local hospital there was a posted policy about photography and babies.

    Basically shooting through the baby window really sux anyway, flash is disturbing to staff tha should be focused on the infants, privacy of other infants (especially sensitive with regards to adoption and abandonment issues), privacy of the staff, privacy of family members etc.

    So the hospital had a special window for the purposing of taking infant photos. Just had to have mom’s written permission and request a photo session outside of feeding times etc.

    Rules in the Delivery Rooms were quite similar, but the OB could authorize photos (if he/she wanted to do so) within certain guidelines.

    And that was 30+ years ago.

    Today’s sensitivity towards privacy I suspect the same hospital would sieze any camera on the hospital campus.

  58. Movado says:

    This is hilarious, America is getting all paranoid. Cool, I hope it all goes to hell soon, party to celebrate at my house boys and girls.

  59. Movado says:

    @Yoni K: I tend to disagree labour and delivery is a happy place if the child is what people wanted, unfortunately these days it is kids having kids….

    Psycho ward on the other hand where Prozac is the going meal of the day is a happy place. Party time.

  60. How about this explanation. They have rules. The rules are in place to prevent the very things the OP suggests they may exist for, patient privacy, employee privacy, and keep monkeys out of the way of workers.

    They make these rules stricter than common sense, because hospital employee #1’s common sense might not have that much in common with employee #2’s common sense. To avoid loose interpretations and “He’s doing it, why can’t I’ types of lobbying, they put in place a zero tolerance policy. It might piss you off, but it’s not a free country in their hospital and most rules have guilty morons behind them. So, while the OP’s photo might’ve been out of the way and not violating anyone’s rights, but the guilty moron who fucked it up for the OP might’ve pissed off someone in the union, or a crotchety old lawyer patient, or maybe had a hand in killing someone. Consider the liability of a hospital, the likelihood that it’s unionized, and the occurence of PitA patients, and it becomes pretty clear why they have some policies.

    Say you’re sorry, stick with your pop and move on.

  61. @sarusa: That, and HIPAA. People REALLY DO go into hospitals with cameras or cell-phone cameras to try to snap photos of celebrities, local bigwigs, accident victims somehow related to a pending lawsuit, etc.

    As a lawyer, I’m actually appalled there are hospitals left that let you videotape childbirth — it’s such a high-risk specialty with such high insurance costs and SO many lawsuits. (Of course, as a consumer, I’m appalled they DON’T let you videotape procedures in case of negligence ….)

    A lot of hospitals have hospital photographers now … they’ll come take pictures of your baby for you. They do a nice job, make a boatload of money (comparatively), and are well-coached on what NOT to take pictures of. Plus they post them on the web for you.

  62. MercuryPDX says:

    @bukz68 @humphrmi: : OK.. people are confusing the issue. How the hospital handled it was wrong. I have no problem with people taking photos of their babies, parents, or WHOEVER in a hospital. Hospital bad! ok?

    It’s the crazy fucking fascists who blow their lid at the tiniest, most dumb fucking incidencts. They manufacture conflict where none was before and this incident is a PERFECT example.

    You’re 100% right, but the answer to that is not to post a sign that says “Warning: Nurse is batshit do not piss her off” next to “Please don’t pee in the hallway.”, “Please don’t blare Heavy Metal in the maternity ward.” and “Please don’t steal patient medications.”

    Just because there’s no sign saying you can’t do it, doesn’t mean you can.

    That’s it.

    Not “How dare the OP take a photo! He’s wrong!”.

    My issue is with commentors who think we need a sign for every little thing that common sense does and does not cover because that is the only way information can (and should) be conveyed…. in a sign. God forbid they ask first before doing something.

    I am not saying the OP should have asked first.

    Does that make more sense?

  63. 4ster says:

    He didn’t know that HIPPA rules protect the privacy rights of the sun.

  64. MercuryPDX says:

    How about this: Instead of putting “Warning: Do not use hairdryer in bathtub! Electric Shock may result!” stickers on hairdryers, I think if you buy the hairdryer you should have enough common sense to know you will get electrocuted if you use it in the bathtub.

    If you’re unsure of whether or not you should use a hairdryer in the bathtub, ask somone. Most of us can grasp the concept and don’t want to peel off 500 labels telling me what I should NOT do with a hairdryer.

    I really cannot make it more simple than that.

  65. Jcakes says:

    Oh yes, let’s make sure that lawyers are in charge of videotaping child birth, ensuring that some third party gets to make a “boatload” of money off of parents. Coached, no less.

    “uh, so you didn’t get any shots of Doc Jones knocking back the 5th of bourbon while he dropped the baby, eh? Shame.”

    Raging paranoia has officially set in.

  66. karmaghost says:

    That one lady was definitely over the top, but it seems like everybody else responded fairly reasonably. Hell, you can’t even take photos in a grocery store, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were cracking down on pictures in hospitals.

    Was this a policy the entire hospital enforces or just on certain floors? I doubt they restrict photos in maternity wards (with the exception of during birth), but in outpatient care and similar areas it makes sense. I worked in the research area of a psychiatric hospital and the restrictions there were obviously very strict (don’t think Arkham strict) and most of the precautions were to protect employees from harm. One common practice was the use black tape to cover our last names.

  67. RIP MRHANDS says:

    People who enforce rules for the sake of enforcing rules are a real menace. They’re just like the receipt checkers at Wal Mart. Why these people cannot differentiate between someone taking photos of patients who expect some privacy and someone taking a photo of scenery outside a window is beyond me. You just have these people who are busybodies who do not feel important about themselves unless every rule is enforced to their extreme.

  68. dweebster says:

    @BuddyGuyMontag: I did.

    OK, so your point is that the sunset was INSIDE the building?!?

    He doesn’t say what was between the hallway and the sun, but I would assume that after the guard verified that there weren’t any patients or staff in the picture a simple statement of their policy would end the issue.

  69. dweebster says:

    @GoBobbyGo: Maybe you are a “better” color than the OP? Just thinking here…

  70. faust1200 says:

    Theres nothing like the sight of sick people and the smell of disinfectant to get me into a sunset kodak state of mind. Too bad they didn’t have any David Lee Roth cutouts you could pose next to.

  71. dweebster says:

    @MercuryPDX: Huh? Are you attempting an analogy of some sort? I’ve never been electrocuted taking a picture of a sunset – whether at the coast, out a window, or from a hallway.

    However, the one time I tried making waffles in my bathtub it didn’t go down very well. (Syrup all over the place, a bitch to clean up).

  72. MercuryPDX says:

    @dweebster: However, the one time I tried making waffles in my bathtub it didn’t go down very well. (Syrup all over the place, a bitch to clean up).

    Obviously, your bathroom needs a sign telling you “This is not the kitchen”. ;)

  73. Black Bellamy says:

    Sometimes I am glad I look like a psycho. I’m six foot two, large frame, got this squinty-eyed Eastern European face, and when I get angry my nose flares like Lee Van Cleef. People look at me and they’re like nah man I don’t need to check his receipt, nah it’s cool he can take photographs here.

    Once in a while I get some guy though, slow on the uptake. Thinks he’s the fucking sheriff or something and this is his little town. Next thing I’m right in his face threatening his life and filing a lawsuit and waving my phone around demanding his bosses number all in the same breath. Usually shuts them the fuck up.

    Only once had I had to choke some motherfucker.

    I read stories like the one above and I always think – if I were there, would I go off? Would it be worth distressing my old man? Probably not. But man, sometimes these tools just have no idea what they’re fucking with.

  74. salsamaphone says:

    @sibertater: While it seems this is misguided HIPPA enforcement, it’s just not any sort of violation if no photo of patients or information was taken. The fact that this was not explained as a HIPPA issue and that signs are not posted about *real* HIPPA photography concerns is so, so wrong– hospitals employees are supposed to be trained in HIPPA issues and are responsible for making sure visitors understand as well. They need to put up signs.

    BTW– what should have happened: Kurt should have waited with the woman (nurse? tech? nutritionist? janitor? fishy story alert!) for the security officer. Kurt then should have asked the security officer what violation he had made to determine if there was a misunderstanding. If the answer was not adequate, he should have politely asked to speak with a hospital administrator because there are legal issues involved.

    Something stinks in this story.

    LOOK, PEOPLE: Be polite! Be clear! Be reasonable! Listen! Stay calm! And if you don’t get what you think you deserve, escalate! When you’re done escalating and you got nowhere, THEN write to Consumerist! If that doesn’t work… well, maybe you were wrong, or maybe you need an attorney. SHEESH.

  75. Darkwish says:

    I’d say they were overreacting to the pictures. I’ve taken pictures of my grandmother that was in the hospital due to injuries sustained in the nursing home. (The pictures were taken as evidence in case the doctors thought the injuries were caused by abuse and not an accidental fall.) A nurse even walked in to get a blood sample while I was taking the pictures and never said a thing, she couldn’t have cared less about the pictures (I never pointed the camera at her, only my grandmother). I got the feeling that she knew what I was doing and why.

    Every time I’ve been to a hospital in the past 15 years, they’ve been more concerned about having people shut off their cell phones than taking pictures. I can understand if it was a camera phone he was using and the possibility of it interfering with equipment was what caused the problem and not the picture, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

  76. weave says:

    Ooops…. just took this pic last week while my wife was in ER. Whatever…

  77. jamesdenver says:

    I take photos of everything. Some Safeway clerk spazzed out when I took a picture of the Safeway gas stations.

    Someone posted this on my blog about photographers rights []

    Not bad to have on hand.

  78. klusta says:

    Thank HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). As someone pointed out, hospital staff should (and are) trained about HIPAA. Unfortunately, HIPAA is so nebulous and poorly described that you can be nailed for just about anything. The descriptive statement is something like “anything which can be used to identify a patient”. Read that way, an innocuous statement like “my patient in floor 3 — the one with the soccer injury — I think he may have Klinefelter’s Syndrome” can be a HIPAA violation.

    And the fines are horrendous. Not only do you lose federal funding, but accreditation (HUGE for academic institutions) is at risk, and individual fines can reach $50k and jail time (!).

    So yeah, it sucks when a nurse goes all gestapo on you…thank genius sweeping federal regulations.

  79. weave says:

    I’ve been thrown out of a Wegmans in Rochester for taking pics. I mean, let’s be for real, if I was a corporate spy I’d have been more covert about it. I was just visiting the area, never seen one before, and thought they were kinda neat.

  80. sprocket79 says:

    On the door to every ward at the hospital I used to work at was a list of basic rules – visiting hours, number of visitors allowed, age restrictions, if live plants/flowers were allowed, the no cellphone policy, and a no photography policy.

    Granted, no one ever read the damn things because I still always encountered kids under 13 up on floors where they shouldn’t be, and people using cellphones, but the signs were still there in case anyone ever wanted to enforce the policy.

    The hospital can be a place where you have to be hypervigilant, but there’s no need to overreact. The nurse should have told the guy the policy, and if she really wanted to get into it, maybe ask him to delete the photo. She didn’t have to call security unless he started getting belligerent, which he did not.

    The only time I ever called security for being hypervigilant was when some woman asked where the maternity ward was. Our hospital is retarded and had 3 separate maternity wards. I asked who she was there to see so I could direct her to the right one and she said she wasn’t there to see anyone – she just wanted to see the babies. I told her that she couldn’t because our hospital doesn’t have the “window of babies” like you see on tv, and there’s security to get into all 3 maternity wards. You have to be there to see someone and you surrender your drivers license and get a pass until you leave. Anyway she kept asking to see the babies so when she finally left I called security and they tailed her. It turned out to be nothing. She just thought it would be like on tv, and she wanted something to do because she was waiting for her husband to get seen in the ER and was bored.

  81. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @klusta: I fail to see how a picture of outside scenery can be used to identify a patient. My initial comment still stands – the rules are being enforced for the sake of enforcing rules, not because there is some pragmatic value to doing so.

  82. fizzball says:

    Resurrection Health Care should be sued for false advertising. Not once has it lived up to its name.

  83. klusta says:

    @RIPMRHANDS: you’re right, there is absolutely no pragmatic value to doing so. It’s fear plain and simple. Combine vague descriptions as to what a violation of HIPAA actually is with severe penalties for said violations and people will err on the side of over-reaction out of fear.

    I don’t think she was correct in going nuts, but I can see why she did. Technically, the stupidest and most innocuous thing may be a violation of HIPAA. If the camera happened to capture a shot of a nurse looking at a chart, and that chart was readable in the photograph, a violation could easily be pursued. I agree it’s stupid, but it’s like an “obstruction of justice” charge — just about ANYTHING can fall under that umbrella term.

    If you ever want to see a hospital lawyer squirm, tell them you might have violated HIPAA.

  84. thebestyoueverhad says:

    What’s funny is as soon as I saw Chicago Hospital, I immediately wondered if it was Res. I used to work in the Kitchen there about 9 years ago. I seem to remember the security guards being rather big dicks about things. I also remember that they are not too fond of teenage boys riding their bikes down the parking garage.

  85. Televiper says:

    @RIP MRHANDS: Maybe because the nurse reasonably concluded that the OP didn’t bring his camera just to take a picture of the sunset? The nurse was probably just following procedure when she called security. She probably went on to talk to the manager when the OP refused to wait for the security guard.

  86. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @Televiper: While that may be possible, I am only speaking on the basis that the person was taking pictures only of the sunset and nothing else.

    Again, my previous comment about enforcing rules without using any form of critical thinking still applies here.

  87. forgottenpassword says:

    the security guard tapping the guy on the shoulder….. hey, isnt that assault? DO that to a pissed off cop & you just may end up in jail for the night.

  88. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Well, it seems the nurse overreacted in the first place.
    I would have said something like
    “I’m taking a picture of the sunset through the window. Here look. I could send you a print if you like it.”
    and then moved on.

    But the nurse and other staff overreacted and then so did a bunch of Consumerist posters…AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
    Take a damn Prozac…your opinion is not the end all be all. (Mine is :)

  89. bdgbill says:

    I work for a market research company. My job sometimes involves taking photos of gas stations. It seems that half the population of the world thinks they have the right to order people to stop taking pictures and/or confiscate the camera / order phots be deleted.

    It is 100% legal to take photos from public property in every state in the US and in most western countries.

    I don’t understand what these people are afraid of. This was a problem long before 911. People seem to think they “own” images of themselves or their property.

  90. Rajio says:

    Again …. Only in Amerca. You people have some weird logic in your country.Its just a photograph.

  91. The Porkchop Express says:

    @sarusa: Or that pesky HIPAA stuff. oh and the fact that you could see another patient naked or half dressed (ass out of the robe you get at hospitals).

  92. MrMold says:

    We only got the photogs view. Perhaps there is more to the tale.

  93. backbroken says:

    Don’t know if anybody stated the obvious, but the hospital doesn’t want any pictures coming back to haunt them in a malpractice suit.

    “Your honor, my client took this picture of the setting sun, but if you look in the lower right corner, you can clearly see the wrong medication being administered to his father.”

  94. HOP says:

    having been involved in photography since the age of 15, i carry a camera with me always….i would have really been in the jackpot in that hospital…..i’ve taken a few pix in local hospital with no trouble…..

  95. I have about 50 photos of my daughter when she was 3 and in the hospital for surgery…

    I’m surprised he was so nice about it, I would have been more than irate, considering how much they are getting paid for my or my families business. A simple ‘we don’t allow pictures’ would have been sufficient in this case.

  96. godawgs7 says:

    @MercuryPDX: Now you’re confusing product liability with the posting of a company’s policy. I’ve been reading your comments on this post and what you say is totally illogical.
    First, about the hairdryer warnings. Which is easier / cheaper: putting a little sticker on all hairdryers warning about electrocution and making owners rip it off if they don’t want it (about 5 secs of their time), OR paying lots of $$$ to the family of the guy who takes his dryer into the bath to dry his coif. You say that anyone unsure should ask someone. How often is there someone sitting around while you blowdry your hair? And seeing as you are prob doing this in your home, if you aren’t sure about it, I doubt anyone else in your house would know. Also, we’re dealing w/ a life or death thing here. I take a photo in a hospital when i wasnt supposed to, oops! sorry! I take a dryer into the bath and drop it, im prob dead (or as in “What Women Want” i start hearing the thoughts of women).
    You make it sound like common sense is a binary thing. Either we do have it, or we don’t. And it sounds like this ‘common sense’ you talk about is the same for everyone. Common sense varies for different people. For someone familiar with planes, not running behind an engine is common sense. I sail a lot, so not holding onto any lines (ropes) as they may break, run free, is common sense. But i don’t expect non-sailors to know that, so when they come on my boat, i tell them (i could post a sign). I also don’t spend a lot of time in private places where privacy is a concern. I feel that most places I go, taking photos is OK. However, when it’s not ok, I expect a sign.

  97. godawgs7 says:

    @forgottenpassword: We live in a crowded world. You have to look at the intent, in particular. I remember one case in Torts class where a woman was in a stairwell in a school during a fire alarm. She was pretty much just standing there blocking everyone. A teacher came up, gently pushed her by the waist out of the way to allow the kids to leave, and the woman sued for assault and battery. The court held for the teacher saying that in certain situations you can expect to be touched. One of those situations is when someone is trying to get your attention. Now granted, it’s rude to tap someone on the shoulder. Saying “Excuse me.” is generally better.

    ALSO: people often confuse assault and battery. Assault is the imminent fear of attack (being battered). Battery is the actual attack / offensive contact. (This applies to tort law, and I believe crim law, but i could be wrong).

  98. acasto says:

    The worst part is, it probably takes someone with an MBA making $120k/year to come up with this.

  99. Myotheralt says:

    @dabrown: careful, someone might flag that as child prom.

  100. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @apex: That’s what I want to know. What was up with asking for it? Was the hospital trying to go tit for tat?

    “You violated our patient’s privacy so gimmie your driver’s license!”

  101. trmentry says:

    Photographer’s Bill of Rights.
    More geared I believe towards public sidewalks and the like, but maybe handy. I have it in my camera bag but never needed it.


  102. bigduke says:

    How about not being a crappy industry wrought with abuse that has been treating people like crap forever! There is a reason why there is government regulation, and it is because these industries abuse people when there isn’t any regulation. Instead of blaming the customer and badgering them for simple photos, put your own damn house in order!

    People get it in their head that users of the hosiptal are all a bunch of people ready to sue at a moments notice when in reality, they are sick people trying to get well. It is bad for them that the health care industry has become Wal-Martized. And we are all being treated by the lowest bidder on everything.

    Stop blaming the lawyers and the government and look no further then your freindly health insurance company who has rigged the system to be as profitable and as patient unfriendly as possible.

  103. KenSPT says:

    Sure, it’s an overreaction on the hospital’s part, but what’s the big deal of following a guideline of not taking photos in a hospital … no matter how ridiculous the guideline may be.

    Obviously, in this situation, the man didn’t know the rule … but now that he does, I don’t see it as a big deal. Just don’t take photos in the hospital, it’s not a situation that needs to be blown out of proportion.

    If your life doesn’t seem fulfilled unless you have the ability to take photos of the sun from a hospital hallway, you may have some issues.

    Oh, and yes, I also believe that if this is a policy an exception should and would be made for new Mothers.

  104. Perhaps if “consumer advocates” weren’t busily suing the health care system into insolvency I’d be a bit more sympathetic.

  105. disavow says:

    @MercuryPDX: Since photography is generally accepted as some people have noted, howsabout one sign at each hospital entrance saying “Photography prohibited except where posted”? That’s what many places do for cell phone usage.

  106. Jackasimov says:

    @Neecy: Try filming a birth like you used to be able to. Not gonna happen. This rule prevents the documenting of evidence for use in a malpractice suit.

  107. Joafu says:

    My two cents: A lot of hospitals DO have “No cameras allowed” signs, but the exception is usually if you are visiting someone, you let the nurse know you have a camera and you can take pictures in the room you are visiting. This is why you can take photos and videos of births, but if the mother gets wheeled away to the OR, you can follow but the camera can’t. This person was taking photos while in the hallway, had he taken a photo in his father’s room there wouldn’t be much of an issue. I’m pretty sure the overreaction goes to the writer: how much more upset would he be if he found videos of his father struggling through rehab posted on Youtube?

    It’s for the confidentiality and safety of the patient mostly, then protection of healthcare workers. Nurses like to just know the facts, not the whole, elaborate process that goes into making the fact. The woman (most likely a nurse, as they would be most vocal in this situation) knows that cameras are not allowed, and that is the policy; memorizing the entire clause would be pointless as she is not a lawyer.

  108. @Jcakes: “lawyers are in charge of videotaping child birth, ensuring that some third party gets to make a “boatload” of money off of parents. Coached, no less.”

    They don’t let hospital photographers videotape — they come in afterwards and take stills for you. And I was expressing SARCASM … the convenience and quality is how they sell it to parents to make it seem like a GOOD thing that parents aren’t allowed to take pictures.

  109. DaleM says:

    This is from a PDF in regards to Photographers Rights.

    The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

    To read more of this please follow this link:

    Since the hospital is private property, in theory they do have the right to limit photography but since the hospital is open to the public should it be considered a public space?

    I truly wish the ACLU would chime in on this and write up a PDF document outlining photographers rights in public.

    No less than three times last year I was threatened with arrest for simply taking photos in public spaces:
    – On an EL Train (public space and perfectly legal).
    – Free symphony in the park (public space and perfectly legal)
    – Standing outside a cordoned off space of a movie shoot [I was taking a photo of the lighting rig] (public space and perfectly legal).

    Interestingly, after the EL train incident with went to the CTA website and found that photography by the general public is perfectly legal.

    I went back the next day with a print of the policy, shoved it in the face of security and waited for an apology – never came. I still see this person nearly everyday and they remember me. I also carry a print of this policy in my camera bag.

  110. Smitherd says:

    Ridiculous. If the hospital wants no pictures to be taken, they need to clearly post it in all areas where cameras might potentially be taken.

    That being said, the big hospital near me only bans photos of patients, staff and records. So, if you were walking down the hallway and saw a really cool painting [or a sunset out a window, for that matter] you could photograph that, but not go to random people’s rooms and be all “And this unlucky guy got infected from his girlfriend!”

  111. unklegwar says:

    What do they do when some brand new daddy snaps a shot of his newborn in the nursery? Jeez.

  112. Primate says:

    I agree, they don’t want you to have any evidence if there’s a reason for a lawsuit.

  113. skeksil says:

    It has been said before that this was a bad overreactions, but with good intent. Anyway, I thought I might add that this reaction is probably due to some post-9/11 paranoia. Did you know, for example, that using a map to try and navigate Chicago is very suspicious:

    Apparently, Chicago has lost its mind.

  114. vladthepaler says:

    It certainly makes sense to ban photography in a hospital. Patients very likely do not want to be photographed in their sick condition, and may not be able to run away from cameras as well as able-bodied sorts. But a No Photography policy has to be made clear by signage. And if the policy is innocently violated, as it was in this case, staff should be courteous–as the security guard was–not angry or vindictive.

  115. dorkins says:

    @Honus: I think you’ve got it exactly right. It’s true that the nurse or whoever could have used her judgment, but we’re so afraid of lawsuits these days that we just follow the rules to a T. Thanks, idiot McDonald’s coffee-spillng old lady!

  116. skagen says:

    The mcDonalds lady had a valid case. Please read the case before you throw around “idiot McDonalds lady”. The coffee was so hot, when she went to sip it, it literally burned her tongue, thus causing her to spill it because the pain. The coffee proceeded to melt her pantyhose onto her skin and required surgery. Please don’t be so ignorant.

  117. Buran says:

    @skagen: She was drinking it in a car and spilled it on herself.

  118. Trai_Dep says:

    No, it was so hot that it fused her genital tissue to her thigh. Picture that, ladies, gentlemen. Contemplate looking at your lap and realizing with agonized horror that your (scrotum or labia, take your pick) is fused to your thigh. Shrieking, please-gods-kill-me-now agony. Mutilated genitals.

    Squirming yet? Good.

    McDonald’s was forced to admit documents realizing they were aware of the danger, and did a cost/benefit on this and said, “Wagons, ho!” They used a special process that raised the temperature of their coffee far beyond what you have at home (or Starbucks). McDonald’s didn’t want to put a warning on their Vesuvius-hot drink because it might alarm their customers.

    The plaintiff originally sued simply for her overwhelming medical bills, which McDonald’s lawyers snickered at and threw back in grandma’s face. Forcing her to sue them. She wanted to settle but was rebuffed.

    The penalty was based on one day (one day) of coffee profits, a method the jury decided was the most fair. Which was adjusted downward somewhat on appeal.

    Once they were caught, then spanked, they promptly dropped this super-heating process. Hardly the action of a benign company.

    Like many of these radio-show soundbites, once you look at the facts, it turns out to be quite reasonable. You’d find it to be so as well, if it was you (or if you have an ounce of human empathy in your shriveled, stunted, dark soul).

  119. Joafu says:

    How did this turn to coffee? “Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, underextracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee.” That’s what the National Coffee Association says on how hot to make your coffee.

    Liebeck had placed her coffee between her legs so she could add suger/creamer/etc from the passenger seat of the vehicle her grandson was driving but had parked so she could do her thing. She spilled it on her cotton sweatpants, suffered third degree to six percent of her skin and substantial burns to sixteen percent. She spent a week in the hospital amounting to $11k, she wanted to settle for $20k but McDonalds rejected it. It was a stupid case, and I felt bad for Liebeck, but not $650k bad. Read up before making yourself look like a fool. [] will help get you started.

    Not that I side with McDonald’s either, they spend enough time in court suing anyone with a prefix ‘Mc’, claiming it’s their trademark (hint: it isn’t, only the arches are).

  120. Soultrance says:

    So if your wife/sister/mother/friend/etc. just gave birth and you’re in the recovery room taking pictures of the new born baby and the proud mom, is a security guard going to storm into the room and “escort” you out of the hospital now?

  121. disavow says:

    @Joafu: The $650k was for punitive damages. As Trai_Dep said, they knew of the risks, and health/safety regulations prohibiting it, but decided to go with super-high temperatures anyway. From what I understand (as told to me by a lawyer who works with the old lady’s attorney), that location and several others received a lot of business from over-the-road truckers, who wanted their coffee to stay hot a long time.

  122. WhoMee says:

    As a photographer I have run across this problem a few times before, it is not about sunsets from a window, at a minimum it is about the use/control of private property. They do have the right to control their property in anyway they wish and they do not need to post a sign, nor have a reason to do so. The only right a photographer has is to take a picture from a public place like a sidewalk. This includes taking a picture of a private building from that sidewalk. Once I had the police question me about taking a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge from the sidewalk, he tried to have me stop, I pointed out that that I was on public property and finally he left me alone. It is all about ownership rights.

  123. @Trai_Dep: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I’d just add their economic motivation was to keep the coffee hotter longer for commuters, and that they contemplated the increased # of injuries that would result from the increased temperature (including from people spilling on themselves in the car, since the entire POINT was to sell it to commuters), and decided the cost of being sued for those injuries was more than offset by the increased profits they’d make.

    They quite literally set safety against profit and decided profit mattered more.

  124. The Porkchop Express says:

    @stereogirl: That’s why the guard looked at it, the nurse was a bitch and so was whoever else showed up, but maybe they thought he was also taking pictures inside. Lord knows you can’t just pretend to take a picture towards the outside to make it look like you’re just getting scenery then turning around and getting pics of patients and employees.
    I know that’s not very realistic, but it could happen. Don’t take pictures of sick strangers in the hospital.

  125. arcticJKL says:

    I hope he doesnt fail to show them a receipt when leaving.

  126. ancientsociety says:

    I have to side with the hospital here. Almost every hospital I’ve been in the windows are only in patient’s private rooms and, it would appear Kurt probably took the shot from the hallway, through a door or interior window, through a patient room of the sunset. He obviously violated HIPAA/patient confidentiality here, whether or not anyone was in the room/hallway.

    BTW, you don’t have the right to take pictures EVERYWHERE. You’re a private property and photography isn’t an inalienable right.

  127. Klink says:

    “I was also told that I was not allowed anywhere but with my father.”
    That doesn’t sound right,,, he really has a bit more freedom than that I’m sure.
    I understand how they could be scared because of 9/11 and HIPPA, but you’re right. They were way out of line.

  128. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Also there are some ‘rights’ you don’t have.
    When taking pictures from public property, you can take pictures of anything you like.
    If you’re going to use them commercially, and there are people in the picture with their faces visible (and recognizable in the picture), you need signed model releases by each one.

  129. KiLE says:

    When I had a family member at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, the staff were incompetent. He had a breathing tube in so he clearly couldn’t talk. When he needed help he was told to page a nurse by pressing a button they gave him, so when a problem came about, he did… A nurse would then come in over an intercom and say “what do you need?” He’d press the button again, and they’d come on saying “sir, stop wasting our time!”


  130. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    He had NO RIGHT to take a picture of the sun! Think about that statement a few times. Just gets more and more stupid right? Reminds me of when visitors to North Korea take a picture of the Kim Il-Sung monument. You are prohibited from cropping out any part of the statue.

  131. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Christ, are you people talking about that mcdonalds hot coffee case again?