Legality and Ethics of Terri's past nurses talking to the press

  1. I understand that nurses who took care of Terri Schaivo in the past are now going on some talk show circuits. Is this ethical for us as nurses to do this? Is the license of the nurse in jeapardy for doing this by FL law? Does HIPAA cover this that you all know of?

    This whole case stinks. I am so torn between the two sides that I don't know what to think anymore. I wonder what King Solomon would have done?
    Last edit by ScarlettRN on Mar 22, '05
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    About ScarlettRN

    Joined: Apr '03; Posts: 227; Likes: 22
    Psych
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg, Tele, ER, Psych

    35 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    I don't know if it's legal, but I do know it isn't ethical. I think publicly speaking about a patient (or former patient), regardless of how famous, is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

    Funny how our society's morals seem to change whenever money is involved. Personally, I think any nurse who divulges information about Terri Schiavo, just for the dough or their 15 minutes of fame, ought to forfeit their licenses.......I mean, why else would they do something like that? :stone
  4. by   mercyteapot
    The nurses who testify probably are fine legally and ethically, since privilege would have had to be waived by either Michael Schiavo, her guardian ad litum or via court subpoena. Have the other nurses actually divulged HIPAA protected information?
  5. by   TiffyRN
    Legally or ethically? I don't know for sure. What I do know is I saw an interview with one of ther nurses (Ms. Iyer) and I was very unimpressed. Maybe she was having an "off day" but I was having a lot of trouble believing her. This even though I am not convinced of her husband's good character. And it wasn't so much that the things she said were wild, it was her manner. Just not impressed, but that's a personal opinion.
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    i find this to be unethical and probably illegal...they should be stripped of licenses
  7. by   ScarlettRN
    I just wondered if the state of Florida has anything in it's nurse practice acts about this situation with regard to speaking to the press.

    The court of appeals has ruled to not reinsert the g-tube. I read the report filed by Jay Wolfson and while I am so torn by this whole situation, I simply have to agree with the court. I can't say I am glad. That would be kind of cold.
    I am more sick of the emotional hysterics and the allegations of the family than anything else. I wonder if Michael Schiavo will sue for slander? He probably isn't a saint, but according to the report, the Schindler family encouraged him to move on after 4 years of caring for his wife. So he moved on and they didn't like it?
  8. by   Speculating
    Relax folks it's all out in the open. Most all of her Md's have spoken about her. I think in this case it's important that they speak given the controversy at hand. This has turned into a huge incident in the public opinion forum which will in the long run produce many new laws and policy. Anything to shed light on the issue should be welcomed. Remember we as nurses are pt advocates Terri deserves to have her story told from the "vegetable" aspect by someone not as involved as her parents and husband. This is only my opinion.
  9. by   ScarlettRN
    aha, there were reports of 3 nurses filing affadavits, but the truth will bear out....2 CNAs were lumped by the media as being nurses.
    Now I know why no license is in jeopardy.
  10. by   James Huffman
    Quote from ScarlettRN
    I wonder if Michael Schiavo will sue for slander? He probably isn't a saint, but according to the report, the Schindler family encouraged him to move on after 4 years of caring for his wife. So he moved on and they didn't like it?
    Michael Schiavo will never sue anyone for slander. Such a suit would then open up his own life, behavior, and nasty mouth to legal scrutiny.

    When the Schindler family encouraged Michael Schiavo to "move on," I suspect that that implied divorcing Ms. Schiavo.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  11. by   Sheri257
    Quote from ScarlettRN
    I understand that nurses who took care of Terri Schaivo in the past are now going on some talk show circuits. Is this ethical for us as nurses to do this? Is the license of the nurse in jeapardy for doing this by FL law? Does HIPAA cover this that you all know of?
    I don't know about Florida law but, under HIPAA, if they have a signed consent form from the family, then it's legal.

    If they don't have a signed consent form, then it's illegal.

    :redlight:
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 23, '05
  12. by   Tweety
    It doesn't sit well with me. Patient care is confidential, unless petitioned by a court of law.

    If they think they are helping Terri, they aren't. The media is jumping on this story way too late and it's all old news anyway.
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tweety
    It doesn't sit well with me. Patient care is confidential, unless petitioned by a court of law.
    Or, unless they have a consent form from the patient/family. That's why you always see doctors holding press conferences when celebrities are in the hospital (like Clinton's recent surgery). They obviously got a release form.

  14. by   Tweety
    Quote from lizz
    Or, unless they have a consent form from the patient/family. That's why you always see doctors holding press conferences when celebrities are in the hospital (like Clinton's recent surgery). They obviously got a release form.


    This is true, as we know all about Terri and her condition. But there's a difference between holding a press conference to give information about her condition, and nurses/CNA's being interviewed about what went on in private. Did Clinton's nurses go on TV and talk about what his wife did during his stay?

    Who gave them the release form and permission to be interviewed?

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