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December 24, 1997

Patient Consent for Publication

Author Affiliations

Highland Heights, Ohio

JAMA. 1997;278(24):2139. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550240029015

To the Editor.  —Contrasting views were recently published1,2 that differed on the ethical necessity of requiring identifiable patients to provide informed consent prior to publication. The 2 commentators were discussing the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements,3 which state: "Identifying information should not be published... unless the patient gives written informed consent for publication." Dr Snider agreed that obtaining informed consent from identifiable patients is desirable, but he is concerned that rigid adherence to the ICMJE Uniform Requirements will stifle the timely dissemination of important public health information.1 He believes that the ICMJE statement is confining and problematic, as it fails to consider sufficiently the rights of the community at large. Dr Clever disagrees and advocates strict compliance with the ICMJE policy, arguing that the individual patient's right to privacy nearly always outweighs the rights of the general public.2The premise of the

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