Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 63–70

The ethics of clinical photography and social media

Scientific Contribution


Clinical photography is an important tool for medical practice, training and research. While in the past clinical pictures were confined to the stringent controls of surgeries and hospitals technological advances have made possible to take pictures and share them through the internet with only a few clicks. Confronted with this possibility I explore if a case could be made for using clinical photography in tandem with social media. In order to do this I explore: (1) if patient’s informed consent is required for the publication of any clinical images that depicts her, irrespective of whether the patient can be identified from the image or not, (2) if social media is an adequate place for clinical images to be displayed, and finally (3) if there are special considerations that should be taken into account when publishing clinical images on social media.


Clinical photography Informed consent Medical publishing Patient protection Social media 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Science Ethics and InnovationThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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