Privacy and plancenta

Judging from the number of cases where medical staff have been fired for posting images on Facebook it seems obvious that Facebook somehow manages to confuse professionals into forgetting the basic principles of privacy. Internet Cases reports on the interesting case where a student nurse was expelled for posting a picture of herself with a placenta. She has now sued the college and won.

Plaintiff nursing student and some of her classmates attended a clinical OB/GYN course at the local hospital in Olathe, Kansas last November. They got permission from their instructor to photograph themselves with a placenta. Plaintiff posted the photo on Facebook. She got expelled from school. Yes, I know you want to see the photo. Here it is. Byrnes v. Johnson County Community College, 2011 WL 166715 (D. Kan., January 19, 2011).

It is difficult to see how a picture of a placenta can be viewed as a privacy violation even if photographing body parts may be less than professional. The placenta has no rights in itself and identifying the owner of the placenta from an image of the organ seems impossible.

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