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Identifying information in personal statement?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by alt91119, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. alt91119

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    A large portion of my personal statement is going to involve talking about a patient from a foreign country I did medical interpreting for. I've already mentioned to the patient (a teenager) and his mother that I was thinking of using their story in application to medical school and they were 100% supportive and actually excited about it, giving me full permission.

    My question is this: am I allowed to use the patient's name? It would save a ton of characters if I did and make the flow of the PS itself much better, but I will be describing the details surrounding his case which are pretty unique and could likely be considered identifying.

    If not, how would I best go about talking about him? Say "I interpreted for a patient from _____ country and his mother" and from then on refer to him as literally "patient x?"

    If I can, would I need to get written consent from his mother and somehow upload that with my application?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor
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    Don't do it.
    Use an obvious pseudonym.
    A common first name for his country of origin in quotation marks (for first use) will be fine.
     
    #2 gyngyn, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
    Goro likes this.
  4. alt91119

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    Thank you for your reply!

    Would it be universally understood among adcoms that if I put a name in quotes it is a pseudonym? I want there to be 0% chance that any adcom reading it thinks I just violated hippa and either instantly trashes my application or even files an official investigation.

    Also, just to be sure, the discussion of him in my PS would involve the fact that he is a pediatric patient in his early teens and that he was a "insert organ here" transplant patient utilizing a very specific type of pre-transplant technology (it's hard to explain why without giving away my own identity, but this information is all vital as it ties in to all of my other experiences). Given my undergraduate institution and volunteering location, they will be able to identify the hospital as well. Even with a fake name, would this much information be considered "identifying" and a no-go?
     
    #3 alt91119, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  5. alt91119

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  6. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor
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    If the procedure is so unusual that describing it would identify the patient, don't give that information. A face transplant would be an example.
     
  7. Dr.Sticks

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    Just say at the top
    "Minor details have been changed to protect patient identity"
    then continue with your story
     
  8. alt91119

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    It isn't - the technology is used on 1 or 2 patients a month at this children's hospital (used at many other children's hospitals) and has been for years now. It's just that having it used on a patient from this particular country at this particular hospital doesn't happen very often.
     
  9. alt91119

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    In the body of the PS itself? As in, as the first line of it?
     
  10. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor
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    The first time you use it.
     
  11. Dr.Sticks

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    Yeah, at the top.
    It would be a legal disclosure basically.
     

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