To the Editor:
I was disturbed to see a full patient name mentioned in “Professional Courtesy” [Practice Diary, January 2001, page 61]. After reflection, I concluded that the editorial process of FPM would not allow an actual patient's name to be printed, so it must have been a pseudonym. However, without a specific explanation in the article or footnotes, the reader is left to ponder: Is the name a pseudonym, a name printed with prior patient consent or a confidentiality misstep?
As family physicians concerned about the welfare of our patients, we should emphasize the importance of patient privacy in all of our written communications.
Editor's note: We would never intentionally publish a patient's name, and the name used in Practice Diary was indeed a pseudonym. Your point is well taken, though, and Practice Diary now includes a note explaining that patient names are changed.