Even though many people have heard of doctor-patient confidentiality, it is easy for many people to just disregard — or, maybe more accurately, not fully recognize — the importance of this clause. Doctor-patient confidentiality is the premise that a person who goes to a doctor to seek medical treatment should not have to fear that his or her condition will be disclosed to other people. If doctor-patient confidentiality didn’t exist, many people would avoid going to the doctor out of fear of embarrassment. That would lead to a substantially less healthy population.
Doctor-patient confidentiality, then, is one of the most important aspects of the medical field. When it isn’t applied properly, the system suffers — and so can the patient in question.
Continuing down this line of thinking, it is possible for breaches in doctor-patient confidentiality to qualify as medical malpractice. If a physician passes on information about the patient to a third party without the patient’s permission, it may constitute a breach of the confidentiality clause. However, there are exceptions to this in certain cases under certain circumstances.
One important note about doctor-patient confidentiality is that this notion extends well beyond a patient passes away. The duty remains if the patient goes to see a new doctor, or if the patient is receiving treatment elsewhere.
If you suspect that your physician has breached doctor-patient confidentiality, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. These cases can become convoluted, so it is best to have legal help on your side.