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Patient Condition Updates

Media Relations, Public Relations and Corporate Communications Team

Journalists should always work with our team first to coordinate interviews. Each team member represents several departments or specialties of medicine and is available to respond to media inquiries or interview requests in a timely manner. If you are a journalist and unsure which specialty would be most appropriate for your request, please send an inquiry to JHMedia@jhmi.edu. Thank you.

  • Media Relations Phone: 410-955-6681
  • Media Relations Email: JHMedia@jhmi.edu
  • After Hours & Holidays: 410-955-6070. Request that they page the on-call media relations person.


Journalists, 

Our first priority is always the safety and privacy of our patients and their families. With that in mind, we strictly enforce HIPAA laws that limit the amount of patient information we may release without written consent from a patient or patient representative.

We cannot elaborate on a patient’s injuries, illness or prognosis without specific written consent by the patient or the patient’s family. This would be done only under limited circumstances involving public officials, celebrities or others whose stories are of extraordinary public interest.

When asking for a patient’s condition update, you must first provide the media representative with the patient’s full name.

We use standard language acceptable under HIPAA laws and American Hospital Association guidelines to describe patient conditions. They are:

  • Undetermined - Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
  • Good - Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
  • Fair - Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
  • Serious - Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
  • Critical - Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
  • Treated and Released – This could mean the patient was sent home or to another facility.
  • Confirming patient deaths – We will report or confirm a patient’s death only after signed consent from next of kin.