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ABC News cameras had unparalleled access to three of Boston's renowned hospitals fpr "Boston Med" show. Photo: Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images

You could probably guess, without looking it up, that if federal health privacy law does anything, it prohibits hospitals from putting trauma patients on network television without their consent. You’d be right.

And yet, four hospitals have now paid more than $3 million in settlements after allowing reality-TV crews to film trauma patients without their consent.

Driving the news: HHS yesterday announced a $999,000 agreementwith three hospitals — Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital — that allowed crews from ABC’s “Boston Med” to film on their premises without getting patients’ consent.

  • That follows a $2.2 million settlement in 2016 with New York Presbyterian Hospital involving “NY Med,” which had aired a patient's death.
  • The man’s family didn’t even know his death had been filmed until the show aired and his widow happened to be watching, ProPublica reported.

What they're saying: “Patients in hospitals expect to encounter doctors and nurses when getting treatment, not film crews recording them at their most private and vulnerable moments,” Roger Severino, the director of HHS’ Office of Civil Rights, said in a statement yesterday about the Boston settlements.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.