Retired RN from AL with a question

  1. I retired from nursing about 5 years ago. Back then if a patient came in with drugs on them we didn't call the cops because of HIPAA. A troubled family friend bought Fentanyl. Couldn't wait till he got home to use it and stopped at a convenience store and snorted a little in the restroom. Came out blitz of course. Paramedics just happened to be there. Knew something was wrong. Asked if he would like to go to the ER. Took him. He realized he had all this fentanyl on him. Has a psych back ground and decided to snort it ALL when the gave him privacy to get undressed. Of course he coded. Got him back and eventually shipped off to psych after a small ICU stay. Now there's a warrant, felony warrant for his arrest. Is there a new law because of Fentanyl??
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    About LilgirlRN

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 1,150; Likes: 232
    ED staff nurse; from US


  3. by   JKL33
    As far as I know, reporting a crime on the premises has always been a HIPAA-allowed disclosure. Having illegal substances on one's person qualifies as such. You can find various information online confirming this. Hospitals "may" report this information if they choose. I believe EMS may, also - others would know better about that.

    Your previous employer's Privacy Practices (and many of ours, currently) are separate from HIPAA and are a different matter. Many don't wish to get involved in reporting the specific type of situation you mention for various reasons, and may have policies against doing so in situations where it isn't mandated.

    That said, there are other routes by which LE may have become involved.

    Hope your friend is able to get help ~
  4. by   LilgirlRN
    He alrready is. Thanks. Mental illness + addiction often go hand in hand but also often disastrous together. I really fear for his life.
  5. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    What exactly is the warrant for?
    If he snorted it all, there is no evidence.
    Do you even know who reported it (whatever "it" is)?

    As said, criminal activity is not a HIPPA protected item.

    Hopefully he gets the help he needs.