Photo and Image Law

Lawsuit brought against doctor for posting photos on Facebook

A former Northwestern University student in the US has brought a lawsuit against a doctor at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital for posting photos on facebook of her which he had taken without her consent.

Lawsuit brought against doctor for posting photos on Facebook ©-ferkelraggae-Fotolia-Fotolia_31081868_XS

Lawsuit brought against doctor for posting photos on Facebook ©-ferkelraggae-Fotolia-Fotolia_31081868_XS

Claim background

The former student is suing for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress. The doctor allegedly posted photographs of the patient on Instagram and Facebook with “attached commentary” about the patients condition.

If these allegations are true, it would not be unlikely that the hospital and/or the doctor would have to pay compensation of $1.5 million dollars which the claimant is seeking.

Posting photos on Facebook

This is not the first time a medical practitioner has posted photos of patients online without their consent.

This type of behaviour has no place in the medical profession. Not only does it harm the hospital’s reputation, but the resulting compensation claims cost money which could be spent more effectively.

It also results in the patients mistrusting their doctors, which is alarming knowing that trust is the basis of every successful therapy.

Possible ways of addressing the issue could be for doctors and medical staff to undertake training and for general awareness raising strategies to be developed.

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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