Personal Injury Lawyer
There are some relationships that, by their nature, mandate the consent of at least one party before any information can be disclosed to another party. Common relationships that require consent include a doctor and a patient, a therapist and a patient, and a lawyer and a client. Relationships like these typically involve sensitive information. The confidentiality agreed to upon the joining of the relationship serves to facilitate open communication. As a result all parties interests can be served to the best of the ability by the doctor, therapist, lawyer, and so forth.
If you believe a doctor breached the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement, you might wonder whether or not you can file a medical malpractice claim? This information focuses on doctor-patient confidentiality breaches. If you have further questions or concerns, you may contact a medical malpractice lawyer for further advice.
Understanding Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
Doctor-patient confidentiality is based on the idea that a patient need not be concerned about getting medical treatment out of fear that his or her symptoms, diagnosis, or condition will be disclosed to another party. The goal of this relationship based in confidentiality is to help patients to feel so comfortable that they will provide all relevant information. As a result, the doctor is better equipped to make an accurate diagnosis; thereby, provide the patient with the right medical treatment.
When a doctor retains a patient, the patient can expect that the doctor will keep their information withheld from other party’s; thus, it remains confidential and exclusive for the benefit of the patient. Furthermore, the doctor is not allowed to disclose any patient information to another party without the consent of the patient. The exception to this would include:
- Issues related to health insurance
- Issues related to a claim or lawsuit
- The patient is planning to harm themself or another
Patient information may also be viewed by the doctors’ nurses, technicians, or other medical specialists treating the patient on behalf of the doctor’s orders.
What Does Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Cover?
The confidentiality agreement covers what a patient reveals to the doctor and any opinions or conclusions of the doctor after an examination. It also extends and covers every part of a medical record including:
- Medical history
- Pre existing conditions
- Lab reports
- MRI scans
- Mental health
- Doctor-patient communications
- Patient-staff communications
- + More
When a Breach Occurs
A breach between the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement happens when the private information of the patient is disclosed to a third party without the consent of the patient. The exceptions to this would be disclosing information to:
- State health officials
- A court order
Under all states’ laws, patient confidentiality is protected. If a breach occurs, and causes harm to the patient, they could have the right to pursue compensation for medical malpractice, invasion of privacy, or other kinds of legal torts.
The Length of the Confidentiality
The confidentiality agreement continues even after the patient has stopped receiving treatment by the doctor. Depending on the state, it even survives the death of the patient. This means is the patient dies, his or her records will remain confidential.
Has Your Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Agreement Been Breached?
Your medical records should never been shared to another party without your consent. If that has happened, you should talk with a medical malpractice lawyer to find out what steps you can take to ensure this does not happen again, and that you are compensated for any losses that resulted.