I am really quite saddened that this forum of professionals would contribute to the distribution of photos of a patient. If this were to happen to any of our own patients, we would be outraged. Really JEMS? I thought you were better than this.
Let's all remember that if I posted a photo similar to this anywhere online I would be fired and sued. This is unprofessional by the photographer and the media who choose to show it. I think having a link to it in this forum is simply hitching the cart to the publicity show.
I personally think moving a patient of this stature out of the home and into a more secure location, like the hospital, was a scene safety decision, and a good one.
But links to something like this on JEMS connect I think brings the forum down a notch. Will it also be the cover photo for the next JEMS magazine?
My 2 cents
Sure. I'll make the argument that publishing pictures of patients outside of educational materials is unethical without written consent. Just because it's widely available doesn't mean it should be published. In riot situations, if everyone is else is looting and the like, does that all of a sudden make it ok? When programs like TLC's Trauma or Paramedics tape patients, consent is given before those video are published.If it was unprofessional then you could make the argument that all pictures of patients both critical and non were unprofessional to publish. I don't think that this was published with malicious intent but in an effort to educate which is what JEMS is in the business of doing.
I am more curious about the doctor on scene and some reports that the doctor "made" the paramedics continue to work him even though they wished to pronounce him deceased on the scene. I have the authority to pronounce patients on scene without a doctor consult. And a doctor on scene doesn't have the ability to dictate my care unless I work under his direction. But I am on the other side of the country. Are the laws in CA very different? Did the medics on scene have an obligation to work as the physician on scene dictated or was it more of a decision to reduce friction on scene?
Heaven help our profession! The level of whining and hypercriticality in this post take it to a new level.
Unless you have evidence to the contrary, how about assuming (before you express your outrage) that:
1. The medics involved are professionals and did the best they could under the circumstances.
2. Circumstances, including celebrity, make things difficult.
3. When a person puts themselves in the public domain, they have a lesser expectation of privacy anyway.
4. Somebody took a picture - probably not an EMS person.
5. Once the picture is in the public domain, it's there. You can't un-ring the bell.
6. JEMS is here to educate us, about whatever goes on in our industry.
Yowzer! We are like a pack of jackals with a crippled wildebeast! Tear 'em to shreds without knowing all the facts.
Let's learn instead......