Reviews Personal views

When lecturers need patient consent

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7549.1100 (Published 04 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1100
  1. S M Yentis ([email protected]), consultant anaesthetist
  1. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London

    Medical ethics places much emphasis on patients' autonomy and the importance of informed consent, exemplified by detailed guidance on consent for clinical treatment or investigation and for research. Consent (or lack of it) is also relevant when students and doctors learn, and when medical journals publish educational case reports. The use of patients' information in medical presentations, however, seems to be largely ignored. For example, of nine royal colleges (of 13 contacted) replying to inquiries I made in preparing this article, only one issued specific guidance to lecturers about showing patients' photographs at its meetings—although one was considering it as a result. A further two colleges referred, on their websites, to the General Medical Council's guidance on audiovisual recordings of patients (www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/library/making_audiovisual.asp), and the website of one college referred to similar guidance issued by the BMA (http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/PDFAVrecordings/$FILE/AV.pdf). None of the three US colleges that replied (of eight contacted) issued guidance to speakers, although all referred to US legislation governing patients' confidentiality (www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa).

    Strictly, …

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