Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: In their discussion of commercial
filming of patient-physician interactions for the general public, Drs Geiderman
and Larkin1 did not discuss the televising
of live surgical or other invasive procedures at professional conferences.
A few years ago, I attended a medical conference at which transesophageal
echocardiography was to be performed live for approximately 200 physician
attendees. Dozens of members of the technical and medical crews were assembled.
The teleconferencing equipment, after a few technical problems, began broadcasting
the verbal interplay of the moderators (reminiscent of news magazine shows)
to fill time while the patient was sedated. Finally, the moment arrived and
the physician inserted the probe. No luck. The patient grunted as the physician
tried once more. Again, the physician was unable to insert the instrument.
The quandary of the physician was clear and uncomfortable to watch. The physician
had a duty to benefit the patient by doing the procedure with care, yet also
a duty to the 200 paying conferees who expected the physician and conference
sponsors to deliver on their promise of a live demonstration. Geiderman and
Larkin note that patient care may be negatively affected by filming and this
conflict of loyalties, to patient and to audience, is concerning given the
apparent frequency of such live displays.
Slomka J. Commercial Filming of Patient-Physician Interactions. JAMA. 2002;288(14):1718-1719. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1718