I’ve been asked several ‘ethical dilemmas’ in the past few weeks. I’m putting them up on Shrink Rap, but please don’t get hung up on the details. These aren’t my patients, but the details of the stories are being distorted to disguise those involved. The question, in both cases, boils down to: Should the mental health professional report the patient to his professional board?
In the first case, a psychiatrist is treating a nurse who is behaving badly. The nurse is stealing controlled substances from the hospital and giving them to friends who ‘need’ them. She doesn’t intend to stop, and her contact with the psychiatrist was only for an appointment or two before she ended treatment. Should the psychiatrist contact the state’s nursing board? Is he even allowed to?
In the second case, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Got a call from a long-time patient over the weekend. Hearing a not overly alarming story but one that was not terribly reassuring either, I suggested she go to the Emergency Department.
Later that morning, sitting at an internet cafe with DSS eating breakfast, each of us surfing on our respective laptops, he says conversationally, “So I see Miss LTP is in the ER.”
My heart stopped and my stomach dropped. Had he managed to access the voicemail program I use for after hours calls? My EMR? Had I left shortcuts up to any patient-related materials on that machine? When had I last used it anyway? My mind was racing. I wasn’t all that concerned specifically about him knowing that a particular person was in the ER, since he understands confidentiality. But if he was able to access confidential patient information, did that mean I had a security breach?
“How do you know that?” I asked him carefully, after a very long pause, during which all of the above ran through my head. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*