Thursday, May 20, 2010

Protecting Patient Confidentiality:

Protecting patient confidentiality - in the interest of the public as well. A May 5th editorial entitled "Patient safety first, doctor" in the Southland Times (New Zealand) commends a physician for reporting one of his methadone patients, who worked in a nursing home, to her employer. What the editors fail to understand is that inability to guarantee strict adherence to privacy will be a powerful disincentive for those who want and need help for their dependency - and particularly those who are employed in "sensitive" settings. Discouraging those needing help from getting it poses an enormous threat to the entire community.


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Beth said...

This is difficult, the Dr probably thought he had an obligation to report her, but it wasn't really his responsibility. If the patient had known the Dr was going to do that then she may never have sought help in the first place. Having said that, the Dr should maybe have encouraged the patient to talk to her employer herself about the situation.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I agree this is a very difficult situation. However, I feel very strongly this Dr should have spoken to his patient first to ascertain if she was compliant w/treatment. If she was I believe he has NO right breaking pt confidentiality. Now if she was not compliant ie: + urine screens, not following program rules etc. he should allow her a specific period of time to become compliant and explain if she does not he will have no other option but to contact her employer due to the risk of patient safety. He should also have her sign a statement thus showing she understands his plans as well as what is expected of her.

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was dismissed from my job as an a small hospital northern Ont.they gave me no notice. I am appealing the decision I have been a nurse for 25 years and have a good reputation. someone breached my confidentially I have not used since methadone and it gives me the security and confidence to work.I am not responsible to disclose to my employer any medications I am on,unless the affect my present.Thanks Nancy


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