Our Media Policy
It is the policy of Methodist to cooperate with the media within specific guidelines that protect the rights of the patient. The Medical Center has the right to prohibit reporters from interviewing patients and employees, taking photographs and otherwise invading the confidentiality and privacy of individuals or the institution when it is in the best interest of the patient to deny media access. Release forms will always be required if the patient consents to photographs.
Only a physician may discuss the patient's diagnosis and/or prognosis, if the patient has given permission for the physician to do so. The following terms may be used to describe the patient's condition:
Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
Fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
The hospital may release information that the patient was unconscious when brought into the hospital. Information about a patient when they are a victim of violence - whether domestic abuse or other crime of violence (sexual assault, shooting/stabbing, etc.) will not be released.
No statement may be made that there was a suicide or attempted suicide. No information may be given in any way about the patient, the patient's condition or whether or not the patient is currently or has been a patient. No statement may be made as to whether the patient is intoxicated. The same is applicable for drug use. No statement should be made concerning either motivation or circumstances surrounding a patient's poisoning.
The death of a patient is presumed to be a matter of public record and may be reported after the next of kin has been notified. Any information regarding the cause of death will come from the patient's physician, and its release must be approved by a member of the immediate family, when available. In cases involving the Coroner, the media will be referred to the Coroner's office.