What Is A Breach Of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on March 4, 2021
Whether you are attending an annual checkup or require emergency medical care, your doctor has a legal responsibility to keep your medical information private. The doctor-patient confidentiality agreement is based on the concept that you should have the right to seek medical treatment without fear of your doctor disclosing your private health information.
If you discover that your doctor shared information about your medical condition without your consent, you could hold him or her accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Qualifies as a Breach of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality?
When you seek medical care, the doctor responsible for your treatment is expected to keep your sensitive health information private. He or she can only use your medical information to provide you with the best possible medical care. If your doctor wants to release information to a third party, you will need to sign a consent form.
The doctor-patient confidentiality agreement covers the information you reveal to the doctor as well as any opinions the doctor has made about your condition after your examination. Examples of communications that fall under doctor-patient confidentiality include the following.
- All of your medical records, including your laboratory results, diagnostic tests, X-rays and other scans, and medical history
- All communication between you, your doctor, and any other medical professionals who were involved in your care
- All information about your examinations, procedures, and appointments that you discussed with your medical team
- All diagnoses and opinions that your doctor made after your examinations
Exceptions to the Breach of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
In most cases, your doctor cannot release your medical information without your consent. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Doctors may share information with your health insurance company, for example. If the doctor believes you may hurt yourself or other people, he or she can release that information for safety purposes.
Additionally, if you or someone else is filing a lawsuit that involves your medical information, your doctor may need to release it for legal purposes. These exceptions also apply in cases involving criminal investigations. If you are unsure whether your doctor breached his or her duty of confidentiality, speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
What to Do If Your Doctor Breaches Your Right to Confidentiality
Doctors who breach confidentiality agreements could be liable for patients’ damages. If you discover that your doctor has shared your private medical information with others, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against him or her. However, you will need to gather evidence that proves that the breach occurred, that the doctor owed you a duty of confidentiality, and that you suffered physical, psychological, and/or financial damages as a result of the breach.
As soon as you believe that a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality occurred, save all records related to your treatment, your relationship with your doctor, and the breach itself. Write down a detailed account of the breach in a journal and keep a daily record of how the breach has affected your daily life.
Once you gather preliminary evidence, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you obtain medical records, identify the damages you may be eligible for, and consult with expert witnesses who can provide testimony in support of your claims and submit the Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider that the state of Missouri requires for medical malpractice lawsuits. Contact your attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.