HIPAA violation or just a bad decision?

  1. 2
    i have a question that may seem like a homework assignment but this is not. i'm concerned that a individual, that is a rn, may have made a big mistake.
    a nurse that is an assistant manager of a picu sent a picture via text of a small child, 1 year old, with a severe handicap. along with the text picture was a description "poking fun" at the appearance of the child. the picture was sent to two separate individuals. the child’s face was in the picture but no patient name, diagnosis, or any other identifying description. the individual then instructed the people to picture and text was sent to, to "delete right away". they did not.

    sadly the same individual sent another picture via text of another small child, 6 months old, with the child’s face clearly visible but, again, no identifiers such as name, but did say the child had rsv. is this a violation or not. the pictures were not posted to face book or anything but one of the people that received the picture is a fellow employee and is struggling with what to do. first is this a clear cut violation? secondly, is the person that received the picture in violation if they do not turn in the employee that sent it?
    LostCauseCCRN and Joe V like this.
  2. Poll: Did the employee violate HIPAA? Should the individual file a complaint

    • clear cut violation of HIPAA, turn it in!

      88.65% 125
    • bad decision, no violation, let it go

      4.26% 6
    • no big deal, but submit it anyway

      0.71% 1
    • no violation, ethically wrong report to the hospital

      8.51% 12
    • forget it happened

      0% 0
    141 Votes / Multiple Choice
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  4. 75 Comments so far...

  5. 11
    The face of an child or adult is considered an identifier, I'm not sure how it works with newborns. Either way, HIPAA is probably the least of her concerns, it doesn't necessarily require a clearly defined HIPAA violation to get terminated and lose your license, all that takes is to something a "reasonable and prudent" Nurse would not do.
  6. 25
    Frankly, she deserves to get fired and in trouble with the BON. This is just outrageous.
    BuckyBadgerRN, TiddlDwink, sapphire18, and 22 others like this.
  7. 14
    I wish this WAS just a homework assignment. This is suited for the "mockery of nursing" thread...dumb dumb dumb for a nurse to do this!
  8. 0
    Can the other individual get in trouble if it is not reported by her? I guess I'm asking, can she have it sent in by someone else or should the individual with the pictures go through the hospital?Should they go directly through HIPAA? The person that sent the pictures said they can't get introuble if they wait over 180 days from the day they got the picture. I'm not sure about that. I agree it is very bad, but I think they know they screwed up BAD and is trying to stall the other individual.
    Last edit by concerned2012 on Apr 1, '12 : Reason: punctuation
  9. 27
    I don't even care if it is a HIPAA violation, If it was my child (with my knowledge), that would be the least of their worries too.

    It is an Ethical Violation and a Humane Violation. It is not ambiguous to figure this out! My biggest issue with this is that someone would have to post a thread about this (seems to be lacking in judgement if advice is needed to report this.)

    How would you feel if this was your child, and the people who were supposed to protect, nurture, and treat were doing these CRUEL things?

    Easy decision for me, but I will keep it G rated and end my post here.
    LostCauseCCRN, MinnieMomRN, RN2LuvU, and 24 others like this.
  10. 25
    This would be a back dark alley meeting if my child was involved. She would need a colonoscopy procedure to find her phone.
    RN2LuvU, KaroSnowQueen, linda535, and 22 others like this.
  11. 29
    :flamesonb As a mother of a special needs kid this post makes me beyond angry. You have no idea. Your co worker needs to have her license shredded into teeny tiny bits and her butt kicked by the BON until she screams for mercy.
    Her job is to protect those she cares for. Not turn them into jokes. Your job is to do what is right as it is for those that have the pictures.
    What a SHAME to the nursing profession.
    LostCauseCCRN, craftynurse, linda535, and 26 others like this.
  12. 0
    Boston, I could not agree more. I was approached with is question. I know my response was directly along the same lines as yours. Make no doubt about it... I feel as strongly as you. The question was posted on behalf of a very concerned co-worker. I did advise that it should be reported. I am unsure of the clear cut laws surrounding it. The person I posted on behalf is very worried about incolving themselves and the concequences of waiting as they have. I to have small children and I know if I ever thought for a minute someone had done this to my child legal ramifications would be the least of their worries. I truly appreciate your honesty and openness much as the other posts. It is this kind of response that will give them the confidence to push forward. The other individual that received the photos is non-confrontational and is not of American decent. They are very timid and not sure culturally how to approach this. I applaud all of these responses.
  13. 5
    the photo was sent to them. They didn't ask for it, so why would they be worried about getting in trouble?
    scottrho, VykingRN, mizfradd, and 2 others like this.


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