Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Medical-Legal-Ethical Issues

You may notice that I removed the head scan with toothbrush post. I am just not sure how to deal with: (a) the potential legal consequences of publishing medical photos, x-rays or scans of people without their permission even if their is no identifying info on it. (b) the ethical issues related to making light of someone's medical misfortune in a public forum, using privileged information, even if their is no identifying information. So I just removed it, because it kind of bothered me.

I was thinking of asking a patient to let me photgraph a large spider bite wound and maybe posting it. I know that my clinic has form for patients to sign allowing photos to be taken, but I don't think it mentions publishing.

Does anyone have any input on these issues?

posted by Clay @ 2/02/2005 09:43:00 PM   3 comments


At 8:53 PM, Blogger Clay said...

Well it turns out, my clinic does not have a form for allowing photos. It didn't really matter because my spider bite victim came back and was not in the mood to play so I didn't get the camera out.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger joe said...

I don't think if there is no way to identify the person that there is a legal problem. If something has been on the net before it should not be a problem for sure. We are anonymous and so are the subjects we discuss, how can it get any more unidentifiable?

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Clay said...

You are probably correct. But what if, for instance, a family member of this poor fellow wanted to know about panhypopituitarism, so they do a search, and they pull up a scan of their beloved's head with a toothbrush in the middle of it and us discussing it in a slightly less than professional manner. Don't you think they might be upset enough to complain to the hospital about it? Or if I take a picture of a spider bite and post it, then they get on the net and look for pics of spider bites, There is this persons leg, and a comment from brad, being the a-hole that he is, saying something crude about it. The patient would probably be upset and they would know it was me who put it there and they would know it was my(our) site.

These events are very unlikely but certainly possible. Especially if we posted anything worth looking at, the readerhip would increase and search hits would be more common. You might be right about the legal issues, but I wouldn't post anything you wouldn't want someone to see and know you did it.


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