In recent months, medical schools around the nation have begun re-examining their ethics codes after a string of disturbing cases in which students photographed or videotaped cadavers and posted the images on Facebook and YouTube, reports the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. Last month, Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island announced it was developing a revised ethics policy after a student posted a photo on Facebook of a classmate posing with a “thumbs up” next to a cadaver. The State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse also is updating its ethics curriculum after a former resident posted a snapshot of an exposed brain on Facebook. Students’ use of social media sites is becoming an increasing concern, according to an anonymous survey of 78 U.S. medical schools published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nearly 60 percent of schools reported catching students posting unprofessional online content, including several blatant violations of patient confidentiality. “It’s Facebook, Twitter, blogging, MySpace,” said Lauren Hughes, president of the American Medical Student Association, a Virginia-based advocacy group. “Right now, institutions are dealing with this on an individual basis.”
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