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Girl Scout privacy
Jul 10, 2003

My daughter and I will soon be attending a Girl Scout day camp. There will be one overnight stay which is a problem. I am attending as a unit leader so I can administer her medications myself without disclosure. In our information packet for the camp that I just received it states that all medications must be given to the camp first aider in the original bottles and administered by them. Of course the bottles and pills themselves have the name of the medication printed on them and anyone who is curious can easily find out what they're for. I am not sure if the first aider is a nurse or just someone trained in first aid/CPR. By allowing them to administer the medicine, I would be forced to disclose her HIV status, which I am unwilling to do. Would I be within my rights to violate this policy in order to protect her privacy? At this point I plan on giving her medication secretly and hope nobody catches me. If they do find out, what should my response be? How should I handle it? I am also a troop leader and would like to avoid any disclosure of my own status to anyone in the organization. Are Girl Scouts subject to privacy policies or are they exempt in some way?

Response from Ms. Breuer

I would assume that this policy exists because most Girl Scouts at camp who take meds would not have a parent there to administer them. I suggest being up front by writing the camp director a letter stating that your daughter takes meds which your health care provider insists must be administered by you, not by anyone unfamiliar with the meds, and that you will be taking responsibility for doing this during camp. Don't state this as a request; state it as a fact. Then you are acknowledging the rule and not just seeking to evade it. If questioned, explain that you are maintaining the privacy of your daughter's medical information. There are extensive legal protections for that privacy.

There's another reason for doing it this way. Your daughter will need to take those meds for years, perhaps a lifetime. If she feels that there is something shameful in taking them, she will have a hard time adhering to her medication regimen in the future. You can help her understand that her diagnosis is private, her meds are private, and she has privacy rights that deserve protection.

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