Patient confidentiality is a cornerstone of ethical healthcare practice, ensuring the trust and privacy of individuals under medical care. However, the incident involving an RN’s disclosure of a patient’s name and telephone number to her personal contacts poses not only ethical dilemmas but also potential harm to the patient. In situations where RNs face allegations of compromising patient confidentiality, a nurse attorney becomes an essential ally.
At the time of the initial incident, she was employed as an RN with a home healthcare services provider in Corpus Christi, Texas, and had been in that position for two (2) years and ten (10) months.
On or about March 11, 2021, while employed with a home healthcare services provider in Corpus Christi, Texas, RN disclosed the name and telephone number of a patient to her boyfriend and/or husband, who then made calls to the patient on March 11, 2021, and March 16, 2021. RN’s conduct exposed the patient unnecessarily to a risk of harm from disclosure of his confidential information without his written authorization and constitutes a violation of HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Another incident happened on or about March 21, 2021, after RN’s employment with the home healthcare services provider in Corpus Christi, Texas, was terminated, RN sent the patient a text message which read “u have just cost me my job! My kids and I really appreciate you!! Just remember no good deed gets left undone! Ur time is COMING!!!!” RN’s conduct was likely to injure the patient in that it may have caused delayed distress for the patient, which may not be recognized or felt by the patient until harmful consequences occur
Without consulting with a nurse attorney, RN responded and stated that she did care for the patient for approximately 1 year and she notified her supervisor of the patient’s inappropriate behavior. She was removed from his care at her request and after being removed the patient called her cell phone sporadically over the remainder of her time of employment with the facility. He continued to call even after he was told to stop calling. The patient would also wait for her in the parking lot on days of case conference with attempts to talk to her. Her boyfriend obtained the patient’ s phone number from her caller ID on her cell phone without her knowledge or consent, then called the patient. She never shared any health care information with her boyfriend, any information he obtained was given to him directly by the patient since they have a work history together. In response to the text message sent, I only meant that God is our judge and will take care of all the patient’s lies against me. I would never do anything to harm or injure any patient. My job is to nurture and care for them.
The above action constitutes grounds for disciplinary action in accordance with Section 301.452(b)(10)&(13) Texas Occupations Code, and is a violation of 22 TEX ADMIN. CODE §217.11(1)(A),(1)(E),(1)(J)&(1)(M) and 22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §217.12 (1)(A),(1)(C),(4)&(6)(D).
However, without seeking advice from an experienced nurse attorney and without enough evidence to prove she’s not guilty, the RN lost the case. This is the reason why the Texas Board of Nursing placed her RN license under disciplinary action.
If you ever undergo cases such as this, it’s best to seek the assistance of a good nurse attorney as it could make the case better in your favor. Be sure to find a nurse attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in several nurse cases to ensure the best assistance possible. Texas Nurse Attorney Yong J. An is willing to assist every nurse in need of immediate help for nurse licensing cases. He is an experienced nurse attorney for various licensing cases for the past 17 years and represented over 500 nurses before the Texas BON. To contact him, please dial (832) 428-5679 for a confidential consultation or for more inquiries.