Testifying against someone- this took place before I was technically a nurse

  1. A close friend of mine is in a custody battle with his ex. She is extremely unstable and unfortunately suffers from a multitude of psychiatric issues. Recently, she kidnapped their child and the child was found in filthy conditions. She is safe now with her father.

    In June of 2016, before I was technically a nurse (I was taking NCLEX around this time), I brought the woman in subject to the emergency department I now work at (I was not an employee at the time). She was psychiatrically evaluated, and was admitted to a psychiatric facility for a week afterwards. After that event, she abandoned her child for months with hardly any contact with the father or child. The father (my friend) has asked me to provide a statement for court about the time I brought her to the emergency department to be evaluated.

    I want to help him, but I am nervous about this being a HIPAA violation since I am a nurse now.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    You weren't a nurse and you.weren't acting as.one during this event. HIPAA does not apply.
  4. by   bear94
    That's what I thought, I just know that lawyers can be unforgiving and I wanted to make sure I knew my rights and how to protect myself.
  5. by   JustBeachyNurse
    You can always say no thank you
  6. by   FolksBtrippin
    Quote from bear94
    A close friend of mine is in a custody battle with his ex. She is extremely unstable and unfortunately suffers from a multitude of psychiatric issues. Recently, she kidnapped their child and the child was found in filthy conditions. She is safe now with her father.

    In June of 2016, before I was technically a nurse (I was taking NCLEX around this time), I brought the woman in subject to the emergency department I now work at (I was not an employee at the time). She was psychiatrically evaluated, and was admitted to a psychiatric facility for a week afterwards. After that event, she abandoned her child for months with hardly any contact with the father or child. The father (my friend) has asked me to provide a statement for court about the time I brought her to the emergency department to be evaluated.

    I want to help him, but I am nervous about this being a HIPAA violation since I am a nurse now.
    You absolutely should not offer this info willingly. Say no and add that if it is really that important, the judge can subpoena you. If the judge does subpoena you, contact the legal department of your employer for advice.

    On a similar note... never, ever, ever get involved in someone else's custody battle.
  7. by   FolksBtrippin
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    You weren't a nurse and you.weren't acting as.one during this event. HIPAA does not apply.
    HIPPA applies to non-nurses.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from FolksBtrippin
    HIPPA applies to non-nurses.
    The situation has nothing to do with her employment. HIPAA does not apply. If you read the original post, all she did was take someone to the ER. She NOW works there, but did not at the time of the incident. She is no more bound by HIPAA than is anyone who takes someone to the ER.
  9. by   JKL33
    Quote from FolksBtrippin
    HIPPA applies to non-nurses.
    HIPAA applies to what "covered entities" can do with PHI and one is not subject to it unless a covered entity, an employee performing a role on behalf of the covered entity, a business contracting with the covered entity, etc. The OP's role in this did not fall into any of those categories. HIPAA literally has nothing to do with what the OP is proposing.

    The bigger question, to me, is why be involved with others' mess? What information will the OP share that is not already part of the submitted facts of the case?
  10. by   /username
    Quote from FolksBtrippin
    HIPPA applies to non-nurses.
    No it doesn't. It only applies to covered entities, and individuals employed by them.


    HIPAA is also very restrictive - not every piece of information about a patient or every situation is covered by HIPAA.

    If you're going to make bold statements, at least get the acronym right.
  11. by   brownbook
    No you don't want to lose your license or job over this, BUT I refuse to believe that giving a statement to a judge and lawyers about bringing a friend's wife to the ER when you were not a even a nurse is a HIPAA violation.

    Why are posters telling her to not get involved? With friends like that he doesn't need enemies!

    I get soooooo angry when some stupid vague maybe policy gets in the way of human decency, common sense, and friendship. I'd do it in a heartbeat and HIPAA be dammed!

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