Monday, August 25, 2008


Here is an addendum I added to the post 'Hypothetically Speaking, of course...' I've had many people concerned about HIPAA and a patients right to privacy. As a health care professional, I do my best to follow the HIPAA rules. Which is why I don't tell facts from cases I've worked on. I tell stories about things I've experienced, sure. And sometimes a 'patient' in my story is an amalgam of a couple or a dozen actual patients I've helped. Often time the stories can be told by any paramedic, anywhere... well... read this...

Addendum 8/25: Many people have wondered if I am violating HIPAA by telling of this hypothetical story. Am I? Can anyone identify a person such as this? What about a drunk driver who kills a family but survives? Did I just violate that persons rights because I mentioned something that actually happens more often than it should? I have mentioned no names, birthdays, identifying traits, medical record numbers, or anything else that violates HIPAA. In any of my stories. I'm sure if you dug enough, you could find a person or two that could be pigeonholed into one of my stories. I stand by my belief that I have not violated any one persons rights by telling stories of a Paramedic. I could be almost any medic, almost anywhere, and would have similar, if not exactly the same stories. That's not a HIPAA violation. That's storytelling.-J

I think this should make it pretty clear that unless someone out there can prove otherwise, these postings could entirely be from my imagination. I'd like very much to calm the worries out there of people who think I'll lose my job or be punished for my stories. And unless you want to dig around and see if a patient like one in my stories exists, please relax and read them for what they are, questions and comments on the human condition...not one specific human. Let me warn you though, digging for facts is hard. HIPAA prevents any of us in the health care world from giving out factual identifiable information. And if they do, they can be punished for it.

Thanks again for reading, enjoy the stories, and enjoy your life! If you are walking, talking and breathing, you've got the majority of my patients beat in the health department!

More Later

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