Module 02: Breach Of Confidentiality

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Module 02 – Breach of Confidentiality A 42-year-old male dentist was referred to the radiology department of a hospital for a CT-guided needle biopsy of a 1.5 cm lung nodule. The nodule was thought to be benign but clarification was needed. The patient met with the radiologist and the nurse to explain the procedure and possible risks of bleeding, infection and pneumothorax that may require a chest tube. Before signing the consent form, the dentist asked to speak to the radiologist privately. The patient reveled that he was HIV-positive and was worried that his dental practice might suffer “dire financial consequences” if knowledge of his HIV were to become known. The patient emphasized that he confidential and every precaution…show more content…
The next day, a follow up radiograph showed no signs of the pneumothorax. The patient was discharged. Six week later the radiologist was contacted by risk management, that a patient complained his HIV status had been leeked to the community. The radiologist denied discussing this with anyone. The risk manager said she would investigate further. Eight months later, the radiologist, the hospital and family physician were sued. The issue of breach of patient confidentiality was investigated. This disclosed that shortly after his discharge, the patient was approached by a colleague who expressed sympathy about his HIV status. The patient knew this colleague worked at the hospital. Over the next six weeks, the patient noticed an increase in cancelations of appointments with his patients. The dentist called a few of his long term patients and they explained that though the sympathized with him, they no longer feel safe in his care. Within two months after, the dentist’s practice virtually collapsed. The colleague, who the dentist knew, signed an affidavit stating that the nurse’s aide in the radiology holding area called him the day of the biopsy and informed him of the dentist’s HIV status.

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