Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I just wanted to share this experience from today, which really irritated me.

I dropped Claudia off for her oil and filter change. It had after all been 2 years since the last. The workshop we use offers a courtesy van, so I had them drop me off at work. And in that shuttle, was another 3 gentlemen who needed a ride, too.

Clearly, one of them was a doctor. Probably a surgeon of some sort, as he was in dark blue scrubs. During the ride, he started to make a few phone calls to his nurse. And talked about some billing issues regarding some patients and some procedures. And actually spelled out his patient names to his nurse.

Now, this is wrong at so many levels. For one, it's rude to be yapping on the phone in a shuttle van with others. Secondly, it is simply unethical to be disrespectful of the sacred confidentiality between a patient and his doctor. Indeed, this would be a HIPAA violation and may be an actionable offence.

True, there is more than one 'John Doe' in the city, and he didn't read out in graphic detail his address, or date of birth, or the procedure itself. But come on. Your patients trust you with his secrets, while the others around you expect a certain level of decorum as a member of the medical field.

Even when I'm rounding in the hospital with my residents and students, they all know better than to continue discussing our patient cases when we step into an elevator with other sets of ears. Our topics swiftly change from the insulin dose for Mr. G to what our wives do for a living.

So, to those of you who have been entrusted with this priviledge, remember the sacred oath you took. Be respectful of your patient.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you that it was unethical and he should know better!!

1:55 PM  

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