Pt's FB pictures of me

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    I am a nursing student, and my dad is an ON/GYN. I recently helped him deliver a baby, and his pt took pictures of us and posted them on Facebook. I would like to have these pictures, as I hope to become a CNM, and would love to have a picture of my dad and me at my first delivery. (There are pics of us with and without the baby.)

    Is it a HIPAA violation if I click on the "..." and save these pictures to my phone since she made them public on Facebook (we are not FB friends. I searched for her.) I really want these pictures, but want to have them legitimately. Thanks!
  2. 234 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Quote from rse3
    Is it a HIPAA violation if I click on the "..." and save these pictures to my phone since she made them public on Facebook (we are not FB friends. I searched for her.) I really want these pictures, but want to have them legitimately. Thanks!
    I think the fact that you aren't friends on Facebook and had to search for her to find them would be a problem. Do you have her permission to have them? Just because she put them on Facebook for her friends doesn't mean she wants others (Her doctor's daughter) to have them. If you want them that bad, I would do everything you could to get her permission.
  4. 0
    So do you think that a picture of my dad and me (no baby, no pt info, literally 2 people in scrubs standing against a blank wall) that she posted to her public Facebook page is protected by HIPAA?

    Oh, how I wish I had addressed this issue the other day, but it didn't even occur to me at the time.
  5. 7
    The pic of just you and your dad--no patient in it--I would probably download it. It's a picture of you that she posted publicly on the Internet. I don't see a HIPAA violation by getting it.

    i have a friend that has pictures of both his first and last surgeries. You can't identify the procedure or the patient.
    SE_BSN_RN, SHGR, redhead_NURSE98!, and 4 others like this.
  6. 0
    I would err on the side of caution and say no until you have her permission. I wouldn't want someone who had taken care of me in the hospital to Facebook stalk me and take my pictures, whether I'm in the picture or not.
    Last edit by springchick1 on Jan 24
  7. 5
    Let me just clear something up: there was no "Facebook stalking" about it. As a user of Facebook, one knows that if one has a public profile, the general public has access to it. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I don't appreciate the insinuation that I'm doing something morally wrong or sneaky by accessing these pictures.

    Legally wrong to posses them? Perhaps, but that's why I'm asking. Morally wrong to access public pictures on the Internet of myself? I think not.
    angelabLPN, I<3H2O, JDZ344, and 2 others like this.
  8. 2
    I'm sorry you feel that way. Maybe I should have said Facebook searching instead of stalking. All I am saying is if someone who had taken care of me in the hospital found me on Facebook and took my pictures without my knowledge, I would be extremely unhappy. You asked for an opinion and advice, this is mine. This isn't a friend of yours. It is a patient of your father's. I would hate for this to jeopardize your school situation or your father's practice.
    krisiepoo and psu_213 like this.
  9. 11
    A photo is 'owned' by the creator (the person who took the picture), although that changes when someone posts that picture to facebook. Part of facebook's terms is that they share ownership of whatever photos are posted to the site and then treat their shared ownership as essentially public domain so long as it isn't used for commercial purposes (facebook however can use it for commercial purposes without your permission). If there are no patient identifiers then there is no HIPAA issue, but I would avoid directly reposting the picture since that will contain the original 'owner's' information. Downloading it as an image will create a 'clean' image that is still legal to have for personal use.

    Your legal access to the image however has nothing to do with whether or not the person might get upset by your use of the photo.
    TeacupPom, SHGR, KariZayBSN, and 8 others like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from MunoRN
    A photo is 'owned' by the creator (the person who took the picture), although that changes when someone posts that picture to facebook. Part of facebook's terms is that they share ownership of whatever photos are posted to the site and then treat their shared ownership as essentially public domain so long as it isn't used for commercial purposes (facebook however can use it for commercial purposes without your permission). If there are no patient identifiers then there is no HIPAA issue, but I would avoid directly reposting the picture since that will contain the original 'owner's' information. Downloading it as an image will create a 'clean' image that is still legal to have for personal use.

    Your legal access to the image however has nothing to do with whether or not the person might get upset by your use of the photo.
    Thanks, MunoRN. That's what I thought, but I wanted to double check. I have no intent to repost these pictures on social media, regardless of how I get them. I simply want a picture to print off and put in a personal photo album.

    I will make ever legitimate (and non stalker) attempt to contact this girl. I'm 99.9% positive that she would want me to have them. I just need to find out how to contact her now.
  11. 6
    If they post the picture on FB and you can access it without a pass word there is essentially no expectation of privacy. However...it is her private property. I would not go sharing it anywhere without the patients expressed permission as it involves a minor child. You are on uncharted territory and in your excitement... might make a grave mistake...why risk it?

    I would say that if you used the photo without her permission it still could be a violation of HIPAA as it was her camera, her hospital room (expectation of privacy) and you were there as an observer/student.

    Were you there as a nursing student representing your program even though the doctor was your Dad? I would check you schools social media policy before you get yourself terminated from your program. Why do you WANT this picture? It really is the patients private moment.

    Have you asked your Dad if HE minds if you ask HIS patient for HER PRIVATE PHOTO?

    We are NOT lawyers and therefore cannot give legal advice.


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