Doctors and hospitals have an obligation to maintain doctor-patient confidentiality. This professional duty of doctor-patient confidentiality applies to information that a patient tells a doctor, as well as information that the doctor independently concludes based on an examination. Moreover, patient confidentiality encompasses all medical records and applies to communications with other medical staff, in addition to communication between the patient and doctor.
The duty of doctor-patient confidentiality continues beyond the scope of treatment as well, and a doctor must not only refrain from disclosing patient information, but take necessary steps to ensure that patient information is not leaked through data breaches.
Additionally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act have a number of obligations on healthcare providers that are designed to protect confidential patient information, such as medical records, Social Security numbers, and private contact information.
Technological advances are changing the landscape of patient confidentiality, however, and patients often wonder whether their confidential information is adequately protected.
Last year, Advocate Health System – headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois – reported the second largest patient data breach after four unencrypted laptops were stolen from its facilities. As a result of the theft, confidential patient information and Social Security numbers belonging to more than 4 million people were placed at risk.
Negligence and misconduct can also place patient confidentiality at risk. For instance, last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that an anesthesiologist decorated a patient’s face with stickers while she was unconscious and a nurse’s aide subsequently snapped a photo of the patient.
If you suspect that your patient confidentiality has been compromised, you should promptly consult with a medical malpractice lawyer. If the doctor or hospital was negligent in protecting the information, you may be able to collect money damages in a medical malpractice or HIPAA lawsuit.
The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of the victims of medical malpractice and their families. We have extensive experience handling a wide variety of medical malpractice cases, including cases involving patient confidentiality breaches. We use our keen knowledge of the legal and medical issues involved to provide our clients with exceptional legal advice and advocacy as we strive to get them the compensation that they deserve.
We have obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of the victims of medical malpractice, including an $11.4 million settlement for a man whose cervical cord was injured when his head fell from the head-holder during surgery, a nearly $10 million verdict for a medical student who suffers from complex regional pain syndrome, and a $7.650 million verdict in a birth injury case in which a baby suffered from cerebral palsy caused by obstetrical negligence.
If your patient confidentiality has been compromised or you have been the victim of a preventable medical error, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate and well-respected Chicago medical malpractice attorney. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.