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7+ Year Member
Oct 24, 2011
Medical Student
You should be OK but with your application already submitted there is nothing you can do anymore and there is no point wasting time predicting how ADCOMS will look at one word in your application.

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Apr 2, 2015
Topeka, Kansas
Medical Student (Accepted)
When he presented to the ED did he state that fake last name was his last name and have it registered as such? In which case ya, you totally did lol.
If you just made one up yourself, probably not, but it can pretty easily still be interpreted as if you did to anyone reading it since you didn't indicate it was a pseudonym.
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2+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2014
In my PS i just indicated that the patient i was talking about as ms. "mary" to be safe (quotes and all)
adcoms will probably just assume it is fake anyhow
like Slug said, chill dude
you'll be ok


Pizza's our middle name!
5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2014
Medical Student
Did you actually violate HIPAA? No. Does it look like you did? Depends who is reading.

Personally, I don't know how anyone doesn't just use the simple alternatives available. Like, a man, a woman, a male, a female, a person, a patient, etc. etc. etc. I've helped maybe two dozen people with their personal statements and it always boggles my mind when people take risks like this. It's not like making a fake name is going to endear the reader... If anything, I'd be annoyed that someone would be willing to risk it. There's like a 3% chance putting the name will make the essay more interesting and like an 80% chance it'll be an opportunity for an ADCOM to whittle down their massive load of potential applicants...

My bad on the rant, I'm not an ADCOM, it's most likely fine, I have just seen these types of things more often than I thought I would. In all seriousness, mentioning the name in your personal statement will probably have little effect on your application compared to your mcat and gpa. Good luck bud.
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2+ Year Member
Apr 24, 2015
Medical Student (Accepted)
Eh, my PS was entirely about my interactions with one person, so it felt wrong to keep referring to him by a nameless pseudonym (e.g., "the man"). To be fair, he wasn't a patient, but we were in a medical setting, so I suppose by using his real (common) first name, I probably did violate HIPAA:shrug:

Honestly, I don't think this is a huge deal nor do I think you'll have to explain it to adcoms. I've had an interview already, and they didn't bring up my own (potential) violation at all. I think it would be preposterous for an adcom to expect pre-med students to know all the possible ways that HIPAA can be violated. Don't stress about it. Your app is already sent.
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