Nurse gives sexually transmitted disease diagnosis details to patient’s girlfriend
After treating a man with a sexually transmitted disease, an upstate New York nurse shared his condition with the patient’s girlfriend.
Not all HIPAA Horror Stories end with an expensive fine. Sometimes, the accused business simply suffers years of expensive and distracting litigation.
Patient Privacy Breach Case easily avoided
The 2010 incident happened when a nurse at the Guthrie Clinic Steuben in Corning, New York, recognized a man who came in for STD treatment as someone who was dating her sister-in-law.
When the patient was made aware of the source of the disclosure, he sued the clinic, claiming a violation of privacy.
The nurse was fired. The patient then sued the clinic for monetary damages.
Privacy Breach Case lasts four years
Four years later, The State Court of Appeals finally ruled the clinic was not responsible for the breach because the nurse was not acting within her responsibilities as an employee when she disclosed the diagnosis.
Still, the privacy breach case cost the clinic owners thousands in legal fees and significant damage to their reputation.
If you prevail in a privacy breach case, you still lose
Just because you win a lawsuit doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle for patient privacy. Costs of defending a privacy breach case can be staggering. An ongoing HIPAA training and compliance program could have saved the Guthrie Clinic countless hours, dollars and goodwill.