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Sameer Goyal (as)     18 August 2021

Breach of confidentiality and privacy by doctor

Hello Experts,

Around 5-6 years ago I had taken treatment related to problems of depression, anxiety, and high cholesterol from a local doctor. Recently my father was admitted to the same doctor for COVID but the doctor didn't give any treatment as per protocols and referred my father too late to a higher-level institution due to which my father lost his life.

Due to all this, I have lodged a complaint with CMO and the medical council for medical negligence. The doctor tried hard to pressurize me to take complaints back and even asked me for compensation. But I never wanted money however I only wanted him to admit his mistake publicly. Recently during one of the inquiry sessions with the CMO, he submitted in writing that I was a patient with depression and anxiety and he was treating me earlier. I don't know his intentions to submit this information nor I gave consent to disclose this information. 

So I wanted to ask all experts if you can please help me on below:

1. Isn't it a violation of "THE MENTAL HEALTHCARE ACT, 2017" and isn't it against medical ethics to disclose my health condition without my consent?

2. Is there any impact on complaints lodged by me if I had/suffering from depression/anxiety? 

This case pertains to the state of Punjab.

 

Thanks for any support and advice.

 



 1 Replies

Kevin Moses Paul   18 August 2021

As medical issues can be very private, patients are usually advised to avoid telling doctors certain details, if the patient believes that the information could be disclosed. Basically, the confidentiality rules are established to diminish that fear so that the doctor can be armed with all necessary information to provide complete, effective and appropriate treatment.

Doctor-patient confidentiality rules vary in each state, where in most states, the rules apply to relationships involving physicians and psychotherapists and not to a dentist, optometrists, or pharmacist.

Therefore, it is just to say that the rules of confidentiality simply means that all communications between a patient and a physician are privileged as long as they occur during the course of a professional relationship, they are intended to be confidential, and no third party is present.

And hence, a doctor may not disclose the information to anyone without the patient's permission.

So, in case the information disclosed by your psychiatrist to your friend is crucial and should have been confidential, you can proceed to sue the doctor in a civil court for "Breach of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality".

Hope It Helps!

Regards
Kevin M. Paul
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