Via Dr. Ian Mackay's VDU's blog: Keeping patient privacy to the fore... Excerpt and then a comment:
Crawford Kilian (CK; with one "l") and Andrew Rambaut (AR) passed a couple of tweets a couple of evenings ago (my time), and I chipped in my 5c worth (inflation and all) at the time.
I wasn't really meaning to be argumentative, my comment was asking, cynically, whether a suggestion to improve patient privacy suggested by AR would help unstopper the cork of oft-times incomplete and sometimes slow or non-English information on cases of MERS-CoV infection in Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday afternoon CK penned some more detailed thoughts on the issue of patient privacy, stigma and microbial infections. The overall message from all related communication's (including Saudi Ministry of Health's [MOH] Dr Ziad Memish's comments to CK on patient privacy back in September) is that patient personal space was being encroached upon by media who had deduced their identity from the amount of detail in the Saudi press releases about cases.
What follows in his post is exactly the kind of discussion I always hope for and rarely see. In almost nine years of flu blogging, I have been grateful for the absence of harassment and spam in response to my posts. But I've been disappointed in the silence that most of them vanish into.
I understand how reluctant health professionals are to put themselves out under even the limited public gaze of a small blog like H5N1. Such professionals live in bureaucracies where one unfortunate post or tweet could trigger a response as unpleasant as a leg cramp in the middle of the night. Better to call a staff meeting to remind everyone to keep their mouths shut.
But we don't live in a sealed-off world of staff meetings and confidential memos to senior bureaucrats and carefully tailored talking points for the health minister. The rabble are all online. They (we) want to know what the hell is going on. If the health bureaucrats are prepared to tell the truth, tell it often, and tell it well, we'll support them. If not, then we won't.