This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
When William C. DeVries, MD, first proposed putting an artificial heart in a human in 1981, he was—in his own words—"stunned" when a surgeon he greatly admired called it (in print) a ridiculous idea that should never be done. Four years and four patients later, DeVries has been simultaneously hailed as a medical pioneer and castigated for conducting research in a "circuslike" atmosphere.
In a recent interview with JAMA MEDICAL NEWS, DeVries talked about his views on the release of medical information through the nonmedical press, how widespread publicity may affect the outcome of a medical experiment, and whether such publicity breaches the traditional confidentiality of the patient-physician relationship.
In a recent speech to newspaper editors in Washington, DC, DeVries had said: "Many doctors maintain a steadfast refusal to talk with the [news] media about individual cases because they are convinced it invades the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. They
Cowart VS. Media, patient confidentiality: compatible?. JAMA. 1985;253(19):2813–2819. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350430023003