Cell phone used to photograph genitals

The latest example of how the omnipresent cell phone camera can threaten patient privacy and invite lawsuits comes from Phoenix, where a surgeon is accused of using his cell phone to photograph a patient's tattooed genitals and then distributing the picture to friends.

Fox News reports that Adam Hansen, MD, chief resident of general surgery at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix admitted taking the photo with his cell phone on Dec. 11, 2007. The tattoo on strip club owner Sean Dubowik's penis reads "Hot Rod."1

The 27-year-old Dubowik was anesthetized for a gallbladder operation when the photo was taken. The patient told Fox News that he learned of the photo when an administrator from the Mayo Clinic called and said Hansen wanted to tell him about a problem. Hansen told him that he took the picture while inserting a catheter into his penis, Dubowik says. The Arizona Republic newspaper also reported that a member of the surgical staff made an anonymous call about the photo, Fox News reports.

The Mayo Clinic issued a statement saying Hansen has been placed on administrative leave and could face a range of punishment from probation to dismissal. Joseph Sirven, MD, education director for Mayo Clinic Arizona, the hospital's parent organization based in Scottsdale, said, "Patient privacy is a serious matter, and photographing someone in this manner without a good reason is something we will investigate down to the last detail."

Dubowik said he planned to contact an attorney. "The longer I sit here, the angrier I get," he told Fox News.

Reference

1. Surgeon in hot water after photographing patient's tattooed genitals. Fox News, Dec. 19, 2007. Accessed at: www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317468,00.html.