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Histopathology. 2003 Feb;42(2):104-9.

Legal and ethical issues in the use of anonymous images in pathology teaching and research.

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  • 1Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies and Clinical and Biomedical Computing Unit, Cambridge University, UK.


The privacy of patients' health information is of paramount importance. However, it is equally important that medical staff and students have access to photographs and video recordings of real patients for training purposes. Where the patient can be identified from such images, his or her consent is clearly required to both obtain the image and to use it in this way. However, the need for consent, both legally and ethically, is much less convincing where the patient cannot, by the very nature of the image, be identified from it. This is the case for many images used in the teaching of clinical medicine, such as videos taken of laparoscopies, images of internal organs and unlabelled X-rays.

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