Uninformed Consent?

Physician's Money DigestMarch15 2003
Volume 10
Issue 5

New York Times



When executivesasked Sheila Horn, MD, thenewspaper's associate medical director,to reveal medical information aboutemployees without their consent,she balked. In addition to being askedto turn over confidential information,Dr. Horn was allegedly told to "misinform"patients about the nature oftheir injuries, possibly to cut down onthe number of workers compensationclaims due to repetitive stress injuries.Dr. Horn was fired in 1999 in what themaintains was a restructuring ofits medical department, but which Dr.Horn claims was in retaliation for herrefusal to comply with requests foremployee medical information.



She sued for wrongful discharge andrecently had her day in court. Dr. Horn'slawyer says the ' requests placedher client in a situation where she couldcomply and violate medical ethics, orrefuse and lose her job. The argued that, as a newspaper, it has nolegal obligation to comply with thestandards of medical ethics.



In a February, the New York Court ofAppeals backed the positioneffectively ending the caseThe decisionreversed previous lower court rulingssupporting Dr. Horn. The New YorkState Medical Society and the AmericanMedical Society had filed amicus briefssupporting Dr. Horn's position.

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