Hospitals will be required to install surveillance cameras in operating rooms and record surgery procedures at the request of patients starting next week, the health ministry said Friday.
The revised Medical Service Act, set to take effect Monday, also calls for storing recorded videos for at least 30 days, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Under the revision, medical clinics must install cameras in all operating rooms that handle surgeries where patients are anesthetized or unconscious, and record the surgery procedures when patients or their guardians request.
Those violating the mandate face a fine of up to 5 million won (US$3,741).
The rules do not apply in urgent cases where patients are at risk if the surgery is delayed or when there are valid reasons.
Viewing or providing recorded videos will be allowed upon request by relevant institutions for investigation or trials, and will need consent from the patient and all medical personnel.
The revision also stipulates that medical institutions keep the videos for at least 30 days, which can be extended at the request of patients or investigative bodies.
Those accused of leaking, damaging or falsifying footage may face up to five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to 50 million won, according to the law.
The revision, which passed the National Assembly in 2021, aims to safeguard patients from potential medical malpractice and other issues over the course of using medical services.
But doctors' associations voiced strong opposition and filed a constitutional appeal earlier this month, claiming that the "unprecedented" regulation violates the personal rights of physicians and it is feared it will hinder their provision of the best medical services due to pressure from such supervision.
Patient advocacy groups also pointed out that the revision allows "too many exceptions" for refusal and the 30-day period is not long enough to help boost patients' rights.
"The government will have active communications with both doctors and patients to minimize potential issues and conflicts," a ministry official said. (Yonhap)