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Lost trust in doctors after breach of confidentiality
Apr 21, 2012

I stopped taking my medication for HIV due to the hospital staff here in Melbourne inform my employer that I was HIV. I got fired. How am i ment to trust any doctors and their recommendations when hospital staff broke the law and informed my employer,

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear Writer,

I am very sorry to hear that your treating physician's hospital staff impermissibly disclosed your status to your employer and you were fired as a result. Such an egregious breach of trust with devastating consequences would undermine anyone's confidence in the medical profession.

If you are uncomfortable going back to the hospital that breached your confidentiality, I hope you will consider another available medical provider in your area. You had a very traumatic experience due to one hospital staffer's illegal conduct. But there are many talented, compassionate and experienced physicians out there who will treat you with dignity and respect you deserve.

Accessing your legal rights may also help you regain confidence. If you want to pursue litigation, you have some options. As you indicate, your hospital violated the Federal Privacy Rule (HIPAA) if it disclosed your HIV-related information to your former employer without your informed consent. Depending on where you reside, the hospital may also be in violation of state law. Additionally, depending on the size of your employer (at least 15 employees) you may have a credible federal claim of employment discrimination.

If you do not want to pursue litigation for whatever reason, or if you want to remain a patient at this particular hospital, you might consider making a formal complaint to the hospital's ombudsman. Most hospitals have an ombudsman to investigate patient complaints and mediate conflict between patients and staff.

I wish you good luck and hope you can access relief which is best suited for you.



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