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The importance of doctor-patient confidentiality

Can you imagine a world where the concept of doctor-patient confidentiality didn't exist? You would have thousands upon thousands of people that would be afraid to go to the doctor's office due to the possibility of the doctor or nurse leaking private but potentially embarrassing information about their medical condition. Doctor-patient confidentiality is a crucial pillar of the medical world. It allows patients to feel comfortable in telling their doctor everything about their medical condition.

But what many people may not know about doctor-patient confidentiality is that this principle can actually spark a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is because if a doctor does breach the confidentiality arrangement, they can be held liable.

So given the prominent nature of doctor-patient confidentiality, why would any doctor breach it? One way this can happen is simply by mistake. A doctor may send private medical records to a third party without obtaining the proper consent from the patient. In these cases, the doctor can be on the hook for the release of that information.

Another possible scenario is if a patient passes away and a doctor distributes information about the patient to third parties. Doctor-patient confidentiality lasts through death, and this is a concept that can often be overlooked.

Doctor-patient confidentiality also covers a vast swath of information that involves your medical treatment. It covers your medical records, in addition to any opinions the doctor may have or any communication you and your doctor may have.

Source: FindLaw, "Breaches of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality," Accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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