Media Requests

How to Schedule an Interview

All interviews with Children’s physicians, employees, patients and patient families must be requested through a member of the Media Relations Team and should be scheduled in advance whenever possible. Please call the Hospital Operator at (205) 638-9100 and ask to page the Media Relations representative on call. We make every effort to arrange interviews to meet your deadline. Reporters should not directly contact physicians or other members of the Children’s staff or members of our primary care offices.

Sometimes our patient families contact the media directly. Such interviews must still be scheduled through Children’s Media Relations if they are to take place on hospital property.

Outside media is not allowed on critical care floors, including NICU, PICU and CVICU.

Requests to interview the parents of a patient will be communicated to the family but the decision to participate in the interview is left to them.

We are required to follow federal privacy laws in our response to requests for patient information. We can only release information about a patient if we have the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.

Certain injuries or circumstances that bring a patient to Children’s may prevent us from confirming the presence of or releasing any information about that patient. Those restrictions are in the best interest of the safety and well-being of the child, and include gang-related injuries, assault, violent crimes including shootings and stabbings, DHR cases, domestic violence, child abuse, drugs, poisonings, sexual assault, suicide and psychiatric issues.

Interview Topics

Children’s is staffed by regionally- and nationally-known experts in a wide range of childhood diseases, treatment programs and services who are available to speak on topics, including:

  • Asthma
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Bicycle safety
  • Birthmarks
  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injury prevention
  • Brain tumors
  • Burns and skin grafts
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Child abuse
  • Child passenger safety
  • Chronic pain management
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate surgery
  • Clubfeet
  • Cochlear implants
  • Concussions
  • Congenital hand deformities
  • Coping with cancer
  • Critical care and transport
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Ear infections
  • Epilepsy
  • Fetal anomalies
  • Food allergies
  • Grief counseling
  • Hearing loss
  • Home hemodialysis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infectious diseases
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal rehabilitation
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Juvenile diabetes
  • Limb deficiencies
  • Lupus
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Poison prevention
  • Scoliosis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Speech and hearing therapy
  • Spina bifida
  • Sports injuries
  • Weight management


How to Request a Patient Condition

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is federal legislation that regulates the transmission of patient information and sets standards to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Protecting the privacy of our patients and families has always been and continues to be the first priority of Children’s of Alabama and the Media Relations Team. With that in mind, we ask you to respect and follow our policies and procedures regarding the release of patient information:

  • Reporters must contact a member of the Media Relations Team to request a patient condition.
  • Reporters must provide the patient’s first and last name. The correct spelling of names and the age of the patient are helpful, but not required.
  • A parent/legal guardian must sign a consent form before any patient information is released. Unless the parents give us written consent, Media Relations cannot confirm the presence of a patient nor report the child’s condition.
  • If parents do give us written consent, then a one-word condition may be released.
  • No information relating to the circumstances leading to a patient’s hospitalization will be released.
  • No details of the patient’s injury or illness will be released nor will a prognosis on recovery be issued.
  • Patient information will not be released in cases that are related to abuse, suicide, drugs, gang activity, shootings, stabbings, DHR or police investigations or psychiatric issues.

One-Word Conditions & What They Mean

A patient’s condition is based on a medical evaluation performed by doctors and nurses. No one other than the health care professionals directly involved in the patient’s care is in a position to accurately provide that evaluation. To ensure accuracy, we ask that members of the media refrain from reporting a patient condition based solely on information provided by law enforcement and other non-medical personnel.

Children’s follows the Alabama Hospital Association’s guidelines for reporting patient conditions as follows:

  • Good – Vital signs are stable, prognosis is good, patient is conscious and comfortable
  • Fair – Vital signs are stable, prognosis is good, patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable
  • Serious – Vital signs are unstable, prognosis is questionable and patient is acutely ill
  • Critical – Vital signs are unstable, prognosis is not favorable and major complications exist
  • Undetermined – Patient’s condition has not yet been fully evaluated and is awaiting physician assessment
  • Deceased – If a patient’s parent/legal guardian has not requested anonymity and the next of kin have been notified, the hospital may confirm the death of a patient. However, the cause, date or time of death may not be disclosed. Most requests for information regarding a death should be addressed to the county coroner.

Only the one-word condition should be used in reporting and should never be used with qualifiers such as “very serious” or “extremely critical.” Also, we ask that the condition report not be combined with details of the patient’s illness or injury in such a way that it appears that those details were supplied by Children’s.