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Creating Waves of Awareness

Patients’ Privacy Is More Valid Than The So-called EBM

What forced me to write this post is the picture of a doctor taking the case, which I happened to see yesterday. I could notice one video camera on his table in place of stethoscope. I felt as if the camera replaced the stethoscope.

What could be the reason for this change? It is due to our urge to make the cases evidence based. Now we are more interested in taking the picture before treatment and comparing the same after treatment. Evidence is necessary, but one thing we forget while doing that – the privacy of the patient.

Once, Mr M working in multinational firm consulted me. The moment he entered my clinic, he had one demand – do not take my pictures and videos. He had consulted many physicians, and all of them were eager to take the picture of his pedunculated warts on his private part, and they were not interested in his individual picture. That really insulted him! That insult took me to Staphysagria, which also covers the warts. He got cured wonderfully within a few months (Case cured with no evidence!)

There is one more thing that took my attention - an article written by a doctor in a magazine. In the case presentation, name, address, occupation, the name of the company, about the husband, his job, the details of in-laws, quarrels between them, physical and emotional problems, perversions etc. were given very clearly. I appreciate that doctor’s effort to share the experience with us, but the mistake was revealing the identity of the patient. With the help of internet, even we can take the full details of that patient. And for those who already know that patient personally, can identify the person very easily. While publishing, we have to remember one thing that we should not disclose certain things given in our case paper.

It is a fact that our main motto is to make our cases more authentic and scientific. Friends, we should not become the victims of Evidence Based Medicine. True that EBM is needed in this materialistic world full of doubtful people, but the patients’ feeling is more important than anything else.

Here are some points to be considered:

· Instead of giving the name of the patient, give the short form.

· Instead of giving the name of exact location, mention ‘city’, ‘village’, or just mention the geographic area - hilly area, marshy area, riverside, etc.

· Instead of mentioning the name of company, mention IT company, Government service, Private sector. Mention the occupation and workplace only when it is related to the case (occupational disease, miasmatic expression of jobs, etc)

· Preferably avoid the name of the Hospital and physicians who had treated the patient.

· While posting picture, preferably give only the part we are dealing with. Make the image unidentifiable by black bar on the eyes, especially of children and females.

· Always take written permission from the patients if the identity has to be disclosed. In case of children and mentally retarded, take the same from the guardian.

As a result of repeated attacks on our system, and also due to medico legal issues, now we are more scientific in data collection and preservation. Thanks to the skeptics for stimulating us for that development! But we must follow certain things that maintain the privacy of our patient. Without that, how can we expect them to tell us everything?

Aude sapere.
Dr Muhammed Rafeeque.

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Comment by Dr Rajneesh Kumar Sharma MD(Hom) on June 12, 2012 at 12:41pm

Very nice article....

Comment by Dr.Sharad Shangloo on June 12, 2012 at 8:04am

Dear Dr.Muhammed Rafeeque. It is anice article beautifully written toching the core of the patient -doctor relationship and trust.

The patients dignity and privacy should be respected.

Comment by Dr Muhammed Rafeeque on June 9, 2012 at 12:53am

Thanks for the comments.

Comment by Mashkoor Ahmed on June 8, 2012 at 2:42pm

Not to make a "before and after gallery of disease" in order to get fame.

Comment by Debby Bruck on June 7, 2012 at 1:38pm

Excellent discussion. Here in America, everyone must fill out privacy rights forms no matter where you go. Do you divulge your personal information when going to the doctor? Well, in most cases if you don't sign the forms and give permission you cannot get treated or pass data from one of your physicians to another one of your own physicians.

As for homeopathic documentation, I always suggest and say to provide a consent form for what feels most comfortable for the person coming for care. We must show respect and defer to wishes of client. 

Remember when something goes up to the internet remains there forever. This goes for what we say and write, as well. Honor each person and their wishes. 

Comment by Dr. Wequar Ali Khan on June 7, 2012 at 1:10pm

Well written,and touching. We must respect the privacy of our patient.Even when presenting a case do we really have to give all the personal detail such as where he lives ,his address etc. In my opinion only a patient named X whether male or female age is essential.

As you mentioned graphic/ photo evidence must be very discreet. Also when giving copy of Lab report identity of the patient should be blackened out.  

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