I asked myself that question this evening while sitting in the hospital with my family. Reading a story online, I saw that the nurse, currently in isolation for Ebola in Dallas, had been publicly identified. If you don’t know the ins and outs of HIPPA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) , part of that law strengthened the laws that dealt with patient medical record disclosure.
Why? What good does it serve to plaster her name and health records all across the public airwaves? Does the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska need to know her identity?
Ebola is a serious disease, but the ratings/revenue driving has to quit. There is no need for 24/7 reports on the effects of Ebola. We already know what it does as well as how nasty it happens.
With the current hysteria, it’s almost guaranteed to get you clicks if you add the word “Ebola” into your headline in some form or fashion. That’s why I specifically refused to do it. I’ve seen it in my page hits with the few posts I’ve written.
Unless these people have desired to make their medical history public knowledge, there is no reason for the media to engrave the Scarlet E on their forehead. We don’t need to know who these people are. Given how they contact trace each and every case, you will definitely be notified if you have had any contact with someone suspected or diagnosed with Ebola. I can personally attest to that.
I used the names in the past after they were identified through the media. From this point forward, I refuse to use names unless I know for sure that the individual has consented to their medical records being made public. I’m not giving the name of my son out to the public because I guard my privacy like my life depends on it. I can’t disregard someone else’s privacy knowing how I feel about mine.