Sometimes I Think I Wonder too Much

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I often wonder what might happen if a patient of mine has a condition that would necessitate me contacting the spouse/partner. What if the patient doesn't have the spouse/partner listed as someone I CAN contact? Do I break HIPAA regulations and talk with them anyway? I wonder.

I often wonder what might happen if a patient of mine has a condition that would necessitate me contacting the spouse/partner. What if the patient doesn’t have the spouse/partner listed as someone I CAN contact? Do I break HIPAA regulations and talk with them anyway? I wonder.

I read a few weeks ago that Lucy Baines Johnson, former President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter, was admitted to a hospital in Texas with a “rare autoimmune disorder later identified as Guillain-Barre syndrome. A family spokesman said she was being treated at the Mayo Clinic, I guess following her discharge from the hospital. Is he allowed to tell the entire world that? Did he get her permission?

And who’s responsible for divulging private information about celebrities who go in for drug or alcohol rehab? Or even sex rehab? We hear about it all the time. We heard all kinds of stuff about Michael Jackson and his use of prescription drugs and the events prior to his demise. Did someone have permission to release all of that medical information?

I wonder.

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