So, here's a hypothetical moral dilemma for those of you who may question your line of work.
story deleted because a co-worker has decided that if they worked hard enough at tracking my hypothetical patient down, they might be able to identify them. Of course, that would mean that this co-worker would need to search through medical records to do that, thereby violating HIPAA themselves just to nail me. Thanks for the overreaction co-worker!
Addendum 8/23: I've had many people ask about mandatory reporting, notification of authorities, etc. There is much more to this hypothetical story, of course. But I would be violating HIPAA if I wrote it all out here. Hypothetically speaking, of course. Thanks for reading.
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.
Addendum 12/2: After being called on the carpet at work for my writing here, I have agreed to remove patient scenarios that I wrote to describe the thoughts of a paramedic in certain situations. I continue to believe that no HIPAA rules were broken in my writings. But to protect the reputation of the hospital I work in, I will no longer be able to describe what I do for a living.