You may think that it is large breaches of confidential information that you have to worry about, but you would be wrong. Just ask the dental assistant who was outed on Facebook as having an STI by a former friend and healthcare worker. Small-scale violations are often more devastating than large ones and happen more often than people realize.
A Florida woman spread the word that a nephew’s partner had given up a baby for adoption. A New Jersey woman’s son was bullied at school after people found out he had attempted suicide. Lawyers in New Jersey may have been given confidential information in order to gain the upper hand in family court cases.
Indianapolis lawyer Neal Eggeson has won several verdicts for people whose health information has been disclosed. He has represented people in local courts successfully. He found that once he started representing people in privacy cases, more came forward. So much so that he stopped handling insurance litigation in 2008 and now concentrates solely on cases of violations of medical privacy.
Unfortunately, these small cases rarely make the evening news. Because they are not widely known, people often suffer in silence, not seeking recourse for the emotional damage such violations can cause. It’s the massive breaches of information that people hear about, and the ones that the Office for Civil Rights’ enforcement receives.
In the past six years, the OCR has received complaints from fewer than 500 private citizens. They have received 1,400 complaints of larger violations. Why? Perhaps people are too embarrassed to come forward. Maybe people do not realize that these individual cases are actual violations of law. Whatever the reason, people are reminded that their health information is private. It is illegal for someone to share your medical information in any manner without your consent. It doesn’t matter if they share your information privately or across social media. Any violation of your medical privacy is a violation of the law. If this has happened to you, you may be entitled to compensation. Do not be afraid to come forward.
If you believe that your medical privacy has been violated, contact our offices. In some instances, this violation may constitute medical malpractice. Let us review the facts of your case and advise you how to proceed.