NZ: Doctor to keep fighting privacy complaint

Here’s a case where a healthcare provider is maintaining that a privacy breach was necessary to protect the health and safety of others:

An Invercargill doctor is refusing to settle over a privacy complaint, saying it would be “moral cowardice”.

Robert Henderson is due to appear before the Human Rights Tribunal on November 30 for telling a nursing home one of its employees was a drug addict.

In 2003, Henderson rang the nursing home and told the charge nurse that a caregiver, who was on a methadone programme, had asked for opiates at his practice.

The caregiver complained to privacy commissioner who also referred the case to the Human Rights Tribunal.

Read more on TVNZ.

While the doctor’s intentions may be good, over here, there is no duty to warn or disclose and this would be a breach with serious repercussions.   In the past, I’ve blogged about requiring healthcare providers to report safety concerns (such as impaired drivers) to the state, which I see as somewhat problematic, but here you have a doctor contacting the patient’s employer.   I am reminded of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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