Hippa Violation in the Nursery?!

  1. 0
    I'm only about to start my nursing program in August, so I'm not experienced in HIPPA. I just remembered something when I was pregnant a few months ago.

    I took a tour in my hospitals L&D unit. One of the nurses took us [us being a group of pregnant ladies] to the nursery. She was pointing out to each section of the nursery, and what each was for and what not. She pointed to one of the babies and said he was a preterm baby and has been there for 2 months and is a "crackbaby." She went on to talk about how the mother tried going to a diffeent hospital than the one she usually goes to so there won't be any records of her on file. She also added the mother was taken away form the baby.

    I didn't think much of it then, but now that I recall--she made the patient identifiable. Though, we don't know who the mother is and what she looks like, we know about the baby..

    Just curious?


    Thanks in advance.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    If the identity of the baby/mother was revealed, the yes, it was a HIPAA violation. You might want to do that hospital a favor and inform them of that so that they can prevent similar violations in the future.
    Esme12 and SHGR like this.
  4. 2
    Wow, that must have been quite a tour. Reminds me a "scared straight" episode.
    I am assuming this wasn't a high risk group of pregnant ladies.....even then, to what purpose could this information possibly serve?
    Gossip of that nature has no right in the nursery or anywhere else. This isn't just a HIPAA violation. I would most definetely say something to the hospital admin. about it, as really, it should be about a tour of the unit, not the singling out and the entire backstory on a poor, innocent baby boy. Heartbreaking. And even more so that an innocent child who has been with a unit for 2 months is labeled "the crack baby".
    sauconyrunner and SHGR like this.
  5. 4
    It doesn't appear that she revealed any personally identifiable information, so I'm not positive it's specifically a HIPAA violation. Unless the baby's story was so specific that simply knowing the situation was enough to figure out who the baby/mother way, but let's face it- pre-term babies born to mothers with drug additions are not really rare.

    However, this would definitely fall under the "need to know" category and be a violation of privacy. There's absolutely no reason for visitors in the hospital to be privy to the life story and medical conditions of the patients in the hospital. The baby is a patient and, even though he is not aware, has a right to privacy.

    HIPAA violation? Possibly. Privacy violation? Definitely. Unethical and unprofessional? Absolutely. Should it be reported? You bet.
    GrnTea, Esme12, NutmeggeRN, and 1 other like this.
  6. 0
    thumbs up to Ashley, PICU RN. She said it all in a very concise way.

    Was it a Nurse giving the tour? At a lot of larger facilities they have a person, trained to do the tours and some other education who is not a Nurse. Lots of people assume they are nurses.
  7. 1
    Quote from sauconyrunner
    thumbs up to Ashley, PICU RN. She said it all in a very concise way.

    Was it a Nurse giving the tour? At a lot of larger facilities they have a person, trained to do the tours and some other education who is not a Nurse. Lots of people assume they are nurses.
    Oh no, she was a labor and delivery nurse. She presented herself in a horrible manner, actually. She was telling us she'd be the nurse who checks us in when we "dramatacially think" we are going to have our baby. She then went on to tell stories about how "ridiculous" women are the last couple weeks of pregnancy when they go to the hospital over the dumbets things to deliver asap. I prayed I didn't have her as a nurse when I had my son.
    I didn't. =]
    sauconyrunner likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from tammy_zeidan09
    Oh no, she was a labor and delivery nurse. She presented herself in a horrible manner, actually. She was telling us she'd be the nurse who checks us in when we "dramatacially think" we are going to have our baby. She then went on to tell stories about how "ridiculous" women are the last couple weeks of pregnancy when they go to the hospital over the dumbets things to deliver asap. I prayed I didn't have her as a nurse when I had my son.
    I didn't. =]

    Ya! She needs to be reported!!!! ASAP!!! There is no reason on God's green earth for her to be saying any of that!!!
    GrnTea likes this.
  9. 0
    wow

    If she's still there, you probably should report her.
  10. 0
    Yes, I agree with the other posters who say Report!!! It doesn't sound like a HIPAA violation but it definitely violates the Patient's Bill of Rights because she did violate the right to privacy by sharing that info.

    And i wouldn't be surprised if someone that unprofessional has her story wrong or exaggerates the truth. What if the mom was on Rx meds that were approved by the doc but things went bad? Or the baby could have some neurological problem unrelated to drugs, but the nurses are assuming and gossiping. So whether or not that baby was born to a drug addicted mother is NOT the business of potential patients.

    This happened in my clinicals. A baby was born and was pretty aggitated once he was in the nursery and the RNs went to go harrass the mom about what drugs she is using because the baby is "definitely on drugs" without getting labs or consulting the doc first.

    I know that seasoned nurses may have a good intuition about what's going on, but there is still a protocol to follow.
  11. 0
    Quote from tammy zeidan 09
    oh no, she was a labor and delivery nurse. she presented herself in a horrible manner, actually. she was telling us she'd be the nurse who checks us in when we "dramatically think" we are going to have our baby. she then went on to tell stories about how "ridiculous" women are the last couple weeks of pregnancy when they go to the hospital over the dumbest things to deliver asap. i prayed i didn't have her as a nurse when i had my son.
    i didn't. =]
    are you absolutely sure she was a rn? and not some know it all, i have worked here forever unit secretary/nurses aid type person. nurses don't usually do the "paper work" of checking in", it is usually some clerical person/registrar............. for what this person said is not professional and i personally feel is actually a violation of hipaa (pointed the baby out, gave medical history and that the baby is is state custody), but ashley is right it is absolutely a violation of privacy.

    i am surprised they took you by the babies themselves as many facilities have stopped this practice for security and privacy reasons.....but you all were expectant mothers, so mox nix. but, any hospital employee should not be sharing that a baby is a crack baby and pointing that baby out of the nursery and stating the mother no longer has custody of the baby.

    i would report it to the hospital simply for the unprofessional conduct of this person. this is also one of my pet peeves, but you aren't even in school yet. you will see knowledgeable healthcare professionals spell it wrong as well which is an irritation for me.

    the health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 (hipaa; pub.l. 104-191, 110 stat. 1936, enacted august 21, 1996) hipaa - general information | center for medicare & medicaid services


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