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  5. Are there laws determining journalists’ rights to interview patients in a hospital?

Are there laws determining journalists’ rights to interview patients in a hospital?

No. The HIPAA rules (see page __) do not appear to have changed medical facility policies on allowing journalists to interview patients.  Generally, as before, some prohibit interviews with patients on the premises while others leave the decision up to patients or family members. If a governmentally run medical facility declined a press request to interview an otherwise willing patient, it would need to have plausible medical reasons for doing so. Such circumstances are hard to imagine, but a court did uphold a federal mental hospital’s staff decision to refuse an attempted presidential assassin’s bid to be interviewed on television, lest the experience exacerbate his narcissism. United States v. Hinckley, 725 F. Supp. 616 (Dist. Ct. D.C. 1989).

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