Twitter posting of patients’ organs causes ethical uproar


A 19-year-old student at Gifu Municipal Nursing School uploaded images of the internal organs of two cancer patients used in her class to Twitter, school officials said Monday.

Calling the act “not permissible based on ethical grounds,” the school barred the student from classes and may reprimand her.

According to the school, parts of the stomach and large intestine, surgically removed from the bodies of two cancer patients, were shown during a pathology lecture on May 21. A teacher in his 50s passed around the organs in plastic bags that were not labeled with the patients’ names or other personal information.

The student, who took the pictures with her smartphone, tweeted them with a comment: “Warning: Stomach, disgusting (pictures).”

After receiving comments asking it if was “OK to post” the images, the student deleted them at the end of June. However, the images, which were reposted to other sites by various users, had already spread over the Internet.

The city informed the school early Sunday.

“I only wanted people to know what we were learning about (during the lecture),” the student told school officials. “I didn’t know it would become such a big deal.”

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    What’s the big deal? If the organs had name tags on them or if she was posing with a corpse, then I would take issue – but positing some cancer ridden organ to share what they were studying with whomever, what is wrong with that?

  • Adam

    Science. It’s fine. If it were unethical, then so would be an anatomy textbook. This is the same kind of struggle artists had to go through in order to study anatomy. The problem is how much emphasis the society places on perceived shame.