Publication of Case Reports: Is Consent Required?

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Medical Case Reports, Patient Stories, Medical Research, Consent, Patient Privacy, Confidentiality


Case reports in medicine are fundamentally individual patient stories generally describing unique or unexpected findings in terms of disease or treatment. Anecdotally based, they are considered to be less rigorous an evidentiary base than other types of research. As described by Jenicek (1), although case reports rank low on the scale of types of evidence to be relied on, they are highly important in their frequent role as the “first line of evidence”. Historically, case reports were published without consent of the patient. However, standards have been evolving in law and ethics such that consent should now be viewed as mandatory. The remainder of the present commentary provides justification for this assertion.