Ie: Privacy – for dead patient

Ian McGuinness writes in the Irish Medical Times:

The Health Service Executive tried to argue that it had to protect the right to privacy of a deceased patient, the Information Commissioner has revealed.

Ms Emily O’Reilly explained the situation in her recent Annual Report for 2007. Without giving the name of the hospital, Ms O’Reilly explained that a man sought the medical records of his late mother from the institution, which at the time was under the control of a health board. The Health Service Executive now has control of the hospital.

The man and his siblings were the woman’s next of kin, the Information Commissioner said. Referring to Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation,  Ms O’Reilly outlined the Executive’s stance: “The HSE refused access to the records on the basis that the information in them was personal to the deceased and protected from release under section 28 of the FOI Act… The HSE argued that patients expect and deserve confidentiality and privacy during their lives and that, following their death, it is incumbent on hospitals to maintain this privacy unless ‘clear and valid reasons exist’ to release a deceased persons records”.

Full story – Irish Medical Times

hat-tip, Flying Hamster

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