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Viewpoint |

The Circus Comes to the Emergency Department

Neal Baer, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Global Media Center for Social Impact, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(6):883-884. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1112.
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This Viewpoint discusses why the presence of reality television cameras in the emergency department inevitably conflicts with good patient care.

Television cameras have been in the emergency department (ED) ever since ABC News began airing a series of documentaries, such as Boston Med and NY Med, depicting the high-pitched life-and-death drama of saving lives in the ED. Renowned hospitals such as Johns Hopkins, New York–Presbyterian, Brigham and Women’s, Massachusetts General, and Boston Medical Center have welcomed camera crews into their EDs to present the wrenching decisions that physicians and their patients and families must make at the most critical times in their lives.1,2

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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Protecting the integrity of patient-physician interactions
Posted on June 2, 2015
Patrick W. McCormick, MD, MBA
Chair, Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association
Conflict of Interest: None Declared
Baer raises important questions about the ethics of filming patient-physician interactions for public broadcast. In doing so, he echoes guidance offered in the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics. In Opinion E-5.045, Filming Patients in Health Care Settings, the Code addresses concerns that filming will disrupt physician professionalism and undermine the integrity of the patient-physician relationship. Although the Code does not strictly prohibit filming patients for public audiences, guidance requires physicians to carefully consider issues of patient confidentiality, the quality of informed consent possible in situations when patients are being filmed, the control patients should be able to exert over what is broadcast, the potential for conflict of interest, and the representativeness and educational value of the final product before becoming involved in filming patients in clinical settings.
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