Original Article

Trauma: Life in the ER—Education or Entertainment? The Patient’s Perspective

Authors: Robin R. Hemphill, MD, MPH, Sally A. Santen, MD, Cindy M. Spanier, MD, Nicholas D. Fletcher, MD


Objectives: To determine whether patients felt that the show Trauma: Life in the ER has primarily educational or entertainment value. To determine if people felt that this show violated privacy.

Methods: Survey in an academic emergency department. Subjects were asked to participate in an initial survey, then asked to watch video clips from the show and complete a second survey.

Results: Three hundred ninety two participated in the initial survey. Fifty-six percent surveyed had seen the program, and of those, 55% stated that they watched the show for both educational and entertainment value. Of the initial participants, 267 watched the video and completed the second survey. Sixty-four percent stated that they would feel comfortable being filmed without prior permission. Eighteen percent of patients felt that the show violated patients’ privacy.

Conclusions: Most patients felt that this show was educational and did not invade their privacy. The majority were willing to be filmed for this television show, even without prior permission.

Key Points

* Many physician groups have concerns regarding the filming of the patient encounter.

* Most patients feel that this show is educational and does not invade their privacy.

* The majority would be willing to be filmed, even without prior permission.

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