Breach of Confidentiality Lawyer
A breach of doctor-patient confidentiality is a type of medical malpractice. Doctors owe patients a duty of confidentiality in which a patient can trust that his or her doctor will not disclose his or her personal information, including medical records and other medical information, without the patient’s consent.
If the doctor discloses the patient’s medical information without the patient’s consent – even if the information is disclosed to the patient’s family members – the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.
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What Type of Information Does Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Protect?
The doctor-patient confidentiality protection applies not only to doctors that are treating the patient, but also to nurses and other medical professionals treating the patient and to doctors that treated the patient in the past but are not currently treating the patient. The confidentiality protection extends to all medical records, medical information and communications between the patient and doctor and medical staff, including medical records, information and communications that are stored electronically.
The doctor-patient confidentiality protection does not extend to medical records and information sought pursuant to a valid subpoena or disclosed to certain authorized parties, such as state health officials or insurance companies. The doctor-patient confidentiality protection may also not apply in situations of suspected child abuse.
What Should You Do If You Suspect a Breach of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality?
If you suspect that your doctor or medical staff has committed a breach of the doctor-patient confidentiality protection, you should promptly consult with an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney. The skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Offices have considerable experienced with all types of medical malpractice claims, including those resulting from a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, and we can help you understand your legal rights and remedies.
As knowledgeable Chicago medical malpractice attorneys, we are familiar with the legal obligations imposed by the doctor-patient confidentiality and can advocate on your behalf in order to protect your legal rights. We have represented clients in a variety of medical malpractice lawsuits, including obstetrical negligence, medication errors, diagnostic errors, cosmetic surgery malpractice and emergency room malpractice, and we will diligently work to pursue your medical malpractice claim so that you can get the compensation that you need and deserve. If you suspect that your medical information has been disclosed in violation of the doctor-patient confidentiality protection, contact one of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim.
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Breach of Patient Confidentiality: Know Your Rights
Doctors, nurses, and health care providers are obligated to adhere to certain standards of care when providing medical treatment and the failure to do so could amount to medical malpractice. One such standard of care is the obligation to maintain a patient’s medical privacy. If a doctor breaches a patient’s confidentiality, he or she could be found liable for medical malpractice.
A patient’s right to medical privacy includes the confidence that the doctor will not disclose his or her personal information, including medical records and other medical information, without the patient’s consent, as well as several obligations imposed under federal HIPAA laws. If the doctor or health care provider discloses the patient’s medical information without the patient’s consent – even if the information is disclosed to the patient’s family members – the doctor or health care provider could be liable for medical malpractice.
With technological advances, patient confidentiality has entered unchartered territory and may cover a number of actions beyond the disclosure of information. For instance, a recent lawsuit filed by a patient in California highlights the privacy and data risks inherent in this age of smartphones and social media. According to the Los Angeles Times, a patient’s anesthesiologist decorated the patient’s face with stickers while she was unconscious and a nurse’s aide subsequently snapped a photo. The incident, which occurred in 2011, prompted a state investigation that resulted in disciplinary action against the doctor and the other employees involved in the incident, but the doctor maintained his privileges at the hospital and none of the employees were fired.
The patient filed a civil lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor based on the alleged breach of medical privacy. Depositions taken in connection with the civil lawsuit indicate a dispute about whether the photo was posted to Facebook, with the nurse’s aide testifying that she did not email or post the photo anywhere and others testifying that they saw the photo on Facebook.
“The idea that people are using their cell phone or even have one in the operating room is crazy,” Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the nonprofit advocacy group Patient Privacy Rights, has said. “It’s a massive security risk and incredibly insensitive to patients.”
In a similar case, four employees at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California were terminated because they used cell phones to photograph a dead emergency-room patient and shared the photos with others.
If you suspect that your doctor or medical staff has committed a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, you should promptly consult with an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney. The skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC have considerable experienced with all types of medical malpractice claims, including those resulting from a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, and we can help you understand your legal rights and remedies.
Contact one of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at (312) 874-7529 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim.
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