What Can You Do When A Breach Of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Occurs?
A doctor does not have just a moral obligation to maintain confidentiality about a patient's health and records. He or she has a legal obligation. If your doctor has broken this confidence, it can be emotionally harmful. Depending on who he or she shared the information with, it could have an impact on other areas of your life, including your career. If you believe that your doctor broke his or her confidentiality agreement, here is what you need to know.
What Is Considered a Breach of Confidentiality?
Doctor-patient confidentiality allows you to share information with your medical care provider without fear that details about your health will be shared with others. Unfortunately, there have been instances in which the doctor-patient confidentiality has been broken.
A breach occurs when your private information is shared with anyone without your consent. Even sharing your information with another doctor to gain a second opinion is considered a breach. Your right to privacy is protected by federal laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
There are some notable exceptions that would allow your doctor to share information about your health without your consent. For instance, if your medical records are subpoenaed by the court, your doctor is obligated to provide them.
Can You Sue Your Doctor for the Breach?
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to file a lawsuit against your doctor for violating your confidence. Whether or not you can depends on if there was harm caused to you by the doctor's actions. The act of your doctor sharing your information might not be enough to justify a lawsuit.
Harm can occur in a number of ways. For instance, if your doctor shared your private health information with your employer and you were terminated due to what was disclosed, you can file a lawsuit. You could argue that the doctor's actions led to a loss of income and emotional pain and suffering.
In addition to filing a lawsuit against the doctor, you can report his or her actions to the medical board in your state. Breach of confidentiality is taken seriously in the medical profession and your doctor's actions could result in him or her being reprimanded and losing his or her right to practice.
Consult with an injury lawyer to learn if you have a case against your doctor and to learn about which damages you can sue him or her for.
For more information, you will want to contact a professional such as one found at James Lee Katz.