Personal statement - appropriate to ask patient before using their story?

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CinDra

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Hi all,
I am wrapping up drafting my PS and wondering what conventional wisdom/etiquette is re: using patient stories in a PS. Is it standard to ask for permission from a patient before talking about them? Obviously I have gotten rid of any identifying information and changed some minor details to make it HIPAA compliant.


Just don't know what the general expectation is.
 

Mr.Smile12

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Hi all,
I am wrapping up drafting my PS and wondering what conventional wisdom/etiquette is re: using patient stories in a PS. Is it standard to ask for permission from a patient before talking about them? Obviously I have gotten rid of any identifying information and changed some minor details to make it HIPAA compliant.


Just don't know what the general expectation is.
To directly answer your question, it is a proper courtesy to get permission.

The larger picture is why and what value it has to understand your journey to medicine.

EDIT: Substitute a name for the real patient name, or you can use initials. I presume that the details on patients are going to be slightly altered. Run it through your clinical supervisors to be sure every bit of identifying information is removed.
 
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LizzyM

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I bring this story out almost every year as a cautionary tale. Guy volunteered at a school with a disabled student named "Danny" who greatly influenced his interest in medicine. Guy wrote about it in his PS and used Danny's real first name. In the work & activities section he listed the name and location of the school.

What he could not have known was that Danny's mother was a faculty member on the admissions committee and Danny died about a month after the guy submitted his application. And Danny's mother was randomly assigned to read the application just after she got back from bereavement leave. She recused herself and was, in a sense, glad to know that Danny's short life had made a positive impact on someone outside of the family but it has always been a lesson for me on being careful about writing about patients and others with whom you have interacted.
 
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allseasons

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I bring this story out almost every year as a cautionary tale. Guy volunteered at a school with a disabled student named "Danny" who greatly influenced his interest in medicine. Guy wrote about it in his PS and used Danny's real first name. In the work & activities section he listed the name and location of the school.

What he could not have known was that Danny's mother was a faculty member on the admissions committee and Danny died about a month after the guy submitted his application. And Danny's mother was randomly assigned to read the application just after she got back from bereavement leave. She recused herself and was, in a sense, glad to know that Danny's short life had made a positive impact on someone outside of the family but it has always been a lesson for me on being careful about writing about patients and others with whom you have interacted.
what are the odds omg
I suppose actually pretty high that there would be at least one case of this considering how many people do it
 

neurodoc

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I think it would be OK to write about your experience if you remove ANY specifics that would allow a reader to identify the patient, such as initials, exact age, where you cared for the patient, and even gender (if possible). And to echo what Mr.Smile12 said, it's common courtesy to ask the patient's permission to use his story.
 
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