Consent for Identifiable Patients - AMA Manual of Style

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Consent for Identifiable Patients 

Consent for Identifiable Patients

Chapter:
Visual Presentation of Data
Author(s):

Stacy Christiansen

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Consent for Identifiable Patients

For photographs or videos in which an individual can be identified (either by himself/herself or by others), the author should obtain and submit a signed statement of informed consent from the identifiable person that grants permission to publish the photograph (in print, online, in video, and all licensed versions, if appropriate). Previously used measures to attempt to conceal the identity of an individual in a photograph, such as placing black bars over the person’s eyes, are not effective and should not be used (see 5.8.2, Ethical and Legal Considerations, Protecting Research Participants' and Patients' Rights in Scientific Publication, Patients' Rights to Privacy and Anonymity). Individuals can be identified in photographs that show minimal body parts, usually from identifying features (eg, scars, moles, clothing). To avoid identifiability in such cases, photographs should be cropped if possible. Otherwise, permission must be obtained from the individual in the photograph.

For figures that depict genetic information, such as pedigrees or family trees, informed consent is required from all persons who can be identified. Authors should not modify the pedigree, eg, by changing the number of persons in the generation, varying the number of offspring in families, or providing inaccurate information about the sex of pedigree members, in an attempt to avoid potential identification. If knowledge of the sex of pedigree members is not essential for scientific purposes, individuals may be designated by diamonds or another sex-neutral symbol of circles (females) and squares (males) (see 4.2.2, Diagrams, Pedigree, and 5.8.3, Ethical and Legal Considerations, Protecting Research Participants' and Patients' Rights in Scientific Publication, Rights in Published Reports of Genetic Studies).

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