As Mayo Clinic opens additional COVID-19 mobile collection sites, we ask that news media respect the privacy of patients and refrain from shooting video or photos of these sites. Mayo Clinic is concerned that fear of publicity will lead patients who need testing to avoid it. Also, drones or helicopters hovering overhead, and photographers zooming in, are distressing and distracting for patients and staff.
The news media have a critical role to play in informing the public. Mayo Clinic wishes to enlist the assistance of the media in encouraging needed testing by respecting the privacy of those seeking it and administering it. What happens in a Mayo Clinic mobile unit is a confidential patient encounter and deserves full confidentiality.
"At a time of national emergency, when we're taking these extraordinary steps in public areas to encourage patients to be tested and to expedite this process, we again ask news media personnel to respect the privacy of patients and staff, and avoid video and photos of these sites," says Halena Gazelka, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Public Affairs. "To the extent that news photos and videos cause even one person to hesitate to use these facilities, it is harmful to individual patients, and efforts to control and stop the spread of COVID-19."
Mayo Clinic has made broadcast-quality, informative photos and video available to news media via the Mayo Clinic News Network, and it will continue to provide new and updated images as testing sites are added. Comprehensive and updated information on COVID-19 is on the Mayo Clinic News Network: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.
"These are extraordinary times, and the news media play an essential role as Mayo Clinic and the nation addresses the COVID-19 pandemic," says Dr. Gazelka. "Regarding these exceptional mobile collection sites, which by necessity are in unusually public areas, we ask media personnel to work with us to protect patient privacy and refrain from video and photography."
Media contact: Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
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