An EMT employed by a volunteer fire department provided emergency care to a female patient for a possible drug overdose. The unresponsive patient was brought to a hospital. The EMT returned home and later spoke to a friend, telling her that she had assisted in taking a certain patient to the hospital emergency room for treatment for a possible drug overdose. Previous to the emergency, the EMT had never met the patient. However, about two weeks before the incident, the EMT had heard about the patient and her medical problems at a social event.
The woman who spoke about the patient was apparently a friend, and it was this person whom the EMT called, after the patient’s overdose. •The patient sued the EMT and her insurance company, alleging that she had defamed her and violated her privacy •The patient actually had been and was continuing to undergo medical care due to illness, and that the apparent overdose she suffered was a reaction to medication. •The EMT claimed that she had not acted unreasonably in contracting the patient’s friend regarding her care. ?The EMT offered to resolve for $5,000, but the plaintiff refused and the matter went to a jury trial. ?
The Jury found that the EMT had violated the plaintiff’s right of privacy, as alleged. ?The Jury also awarded the plaintiff/patient $37,909. 86 in compensatory damages and attorney fees. The EMT and her insurance company appealed. An appeals court upheld the judgment of the lower court. The impact this case has on healthcare is uncontrollable. In my opinion, to prevent this from happening, the employee has to always abide by privacy rules. It hard to prevent cases like these because many people may think that they trust someone well to violate HIPPA , but its never a good idea disgusting other peoples privacy; even to family members. Citation: (Pachowitz v. Ledoux).