JLandyMD35 karma2016-04-14 19:27:15 UTC
Great Q. When I was in residency, we looked after a young woman who visited the Amazon (the place, not the website) and stepped on a nest of poisonous caterpillars. She came home and within a few days, she developed bruising on her legs. When she came to the emergency department, we found a lot of abnormal lab values - particularly with her body's ability to form blood clots. She started to develop respiratory and kidney failure over the next week, and it wasn't until she was on life support that we found out there is an antidote for the caterpillar venom. By the time we had access to that antidote, unfortunately it was too late and this young woman passed away. It was awful.
If I had Figure 1 then, I wonder if we might have known that vital piece of information earlier and her life may have been saved.
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JLandyMD32 karma2016-04-14 18:06:02 UTC
First things first, the Lizard - obviously it's the Gila Monster. 2 reasons:
2. The toxic, venomous saliva of the GM was actually used to make a diabetes drug. The substance is called Glucagon-like peptide, in case you were wondering.
JLandyMD28 karma2016-04-14 19:51:26 UTC
Definitely weird to see medical conditions with a hashtag the first time. But you get used to it. #ErsipelothrixRhusiopathiae
JLandyMD28 karma2016-04-14 18:13:18 UTC
It's more like the latter - healthcare professionals take pictures of real cases they see and share them. People share cases to teach, to learn, and to discuss.
As for HIPAA, the law governs the way that we're supposed to treat Protected Health Information - info like your name, birthday, and any other bits of information that might identify you. The images on Figure 1 have all these types of information stripped away, so all the images are de-identified, and safe to share.
JLandyMD25 karma2016-04-15 02:10:10 UTC
Believe it or not, age is not an identifier, unless the person's age is 90 or above. The way Figure 1 posters handle this problem is by simply saying the patient is 90 or older. (90+, >89, etc). Truthfully, it matters most what age bracket the patient is in, but their exact age is almost never important.
Those HIPAA identifiers are things that are unique to you - your SSN, your insurance number, your IP address, your phone number, etc. That info isn't really important to addressing the medical aspects of a case.
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