A breach of doctor-patient confidentiality is its own kind of negligence. Whether or not it hurts a patient directly, it’s expected that doctors will respect the privacy of their patients. Telling someone about a patient’s welfare can impact him or her, whether it leads to termination at a job or difficulties between family and friends. Doctors have access to patient financials as well as medical conditions, both of which are protected under law.
A doctor can’t divulge any medical information about a patient to a third party without consent from the patient directly. For example, if you are an adult and give permission for your information to be shared with a husband or wife, that’s the only person the doctor can discuss your condition with. If you don’t give permission to the doctor to talk about your condition to someone else, the doctor is bound by law not to except for in a few specific cases, like if a lawsuit depends on a doctor disclosing that information.
Doctor-patient confidentiality covers items you reveal to your doctor, like symptoms or disease complications, as well as any conclusions about your health or opinions given to you in the office. A breach of confidentiality happens when your information is disclosed, or opinions about your health are disclosed, without your consent. If that happens, you may be able to seek compensation and the medical provider who caused the breach may be sued.
If you’ve been impacted by a doctor telling others about your condition when you expressly asked him or her not to or when the third party shouldn’t have been privy to the information, you may have a case. Our website has more information.