This is a good discussion topic, and really surprising to come across because coincidently my dad is actually in icu as we speak...
.....the other night I went up there and the nurse who was there asked me who I was & I told who I was, then was asked asked if I had any questions, I was told some basic stuff but not anything in detail, just basic what tests were done & what's being started/stopped, and condition currently etc..
His gf of 20 yrs has no legal say in anything due to not being married to him...(and sadly no healthcare proxy), so my cousin had to sign as next of kin & my aunt (her mother /my dad's sister) is the one who communicates with the doctors....then tell me what is going on (long complicated story.....)
I haven't called the hospital asking anything because I don't think they'd tell me anything due to I haven't seen him since years & years ago and HIPAA regulations..even though I am his daughter & only child because of the fact nothing has been signed by him giving them the ok to discuss his medical care or illness with me for the obvious reasons. And he is obviously not in the condition to give consent either.
So this is a perfect example of how HIPAA has good/bad.
Even if you are blood it doesn't matter unless that paper has a signature on it giving the ok..... My other aunt ( on my mom's side) went through this with my uncle a few months ago when he died....there's lots of stuff he didn't tell her & obviously didn't want her to know & the doctors couldn't discuss with her because of HIPAA & he didn't sign any consents for them to discuss him with her either & has even said to a few people "I don't tell her everything"...it's sad & they were married for 45 years too.......:uhoh21:
3 words to remember..."Health Care Proxy"...