No medical privacy? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I have been lucky in my life (touch wood) to never have to go to the doctor or hospital for anything serious. I have had a few procedures and a few tests for things, to rule things out, and to make sure I'm okay for the procedures, but nothing life threatening. However, I have a problem.

I'm quite a private person, and choose not to share my medical issues with my family. Of course, I would if it was anything serious, but I don't really like talking about it with other people, especially for a few of the issues because it's down to me making mistakes (don't go there, it's not really relevant).

My Uncle's wife works in the bloods department at our local hospital, and is responsible for receiving the samples from the lab and inputting the results and getting in touch with GPs/consultants if necessary based on the results. Whenever she sees something from our family, she will get in touch. For example, my Grandad fainted a few years ago out of the blue so went for a test, and she told a couple of family members he was there "in case he hadn't had chance to get in touch". She told them without his permission - what if he hadn't WANTED to get in touch?

I also had a blood test two years ago for "something" that I would rather nobody knew I had to be tested for. The way I got the results of the test was through my Mum, saying "Aunty **** said your **** test was negative". I was absolutely fuming. Completely and utterly. I don't know what to do about it. If I report her, surely she will lose her job - if it was anyone else I would do it, but because it's family I don't know what to do. And also these few incidents (there are a couple more as well) were several years ago so I doubt there would be any proof now anyway. I had asked her not to do it but she has done it since with my brother when he had to have a little op ("oh I didn't know he was in hospital having surgery" to my elderly grandparents who we hadn't told because they'd only worry - it was a day case so nothing they needed to worry about) and it almost seems as though she enjoys causing the trouble.

Anyone any idea what I can do about this? I ask because I'm having another test soon for something that I definitely don't want people knowing about until I'm ready to tell them - and I'd give anything if I could make sure my Aunty didn't see the result, even though I know she will because she works there. I understand that she's in a bit of a funny position, in that she will know that something huge is happening in my life, yet she has to separate herself from that and NOT tell my family.. but I'm sure she will tell them. *Sigh*

Any advice? I'm worried, which isn't going to help with the thing I'm being tested for!!
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Anonymous #1
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Bump. Sorry.
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michaelhaych
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Report her; what she's doing is a serious breach of trust. These privacy laws are in place for a reason, just because she's a family member shouldn't affect that
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Smushy
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What your aunt is doing does sound unprofessional to me. I think she might tell your family about the test you are going to get done, even if you talk to her about it. Is there any way you could go to another hospital to avoid her?
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Vousden
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Truly disgusting behaviour with your aunt. Don't let that put you off getting tested though. Ask her not to tell anyone, and if she does, report her. You've given her a chance!
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anosmianAcrimony
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Does she realise that you don't want people to know about your medical stuff? Maybe you should just ask her not to tell anyone!
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Matthew150
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Judging from what you've written, it does sound like you're going for a blood test for something very personal.

The point is, I know she's family etc etc, but there comes a point. When she steps into work, she should be stepping into professionalism, and anybody working in association with any Medical Records has to have a very high level of confidentiality.
She may also be breaching confidentiality for other patients, whom she is unrelated to.

I wouldn't advise telling her not to report anything to your parents, as she'll then be on the look out for your result.

I would recommend telling the healthcare professional/Doctor you are seeing about the situation. They won't be able to get her fired or anything without you making an official complaint/report.
Maybe then, they'll either be able to submit the results themselves, or pass it onto a colleague in the Department other than your aunt. There will be ways that they'll be able to sort this.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by michaelhaych)
Report her; what she's doing is a serious breach of trust. These privacy laws are in place for a reason, just because she's a family member shouldn't affect that
I know it is, but she would find out it was me because surely the exact breach would come up in any hearing?

(Original post by Smushy)
What your aunt is doing does sound unprofessional to me. I think she might tell your family about the test you are going to get done, even if you talk to her about it. Is there any way you could go to another hospital to avoid her?
All of our local hospitals use the central lab so no, not unless I want to be transferred to a hospital more than an hour away - which wouldn't be ideal for any follow ups or anything. I mean, maybe I should just tell everyone before she has the chance to, but I don't want to until I know for sure. I don't want to worry people (or get their hopes up, depending on how they react).

(Original post by Vousden)
Truly disgusting behaviour with your aunt. Don't let that put you off getting tested though. Ask her not to tell anyone, and if she does, report her. You've given her a chance!
Maybe warning her about reporting her would be the best idea - but that doesn't stop her telling people before I get the chance. *Sigh*

(Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
Does she realise that you don't want people to know about your medical stuff? Maybe you should just ask her not to tell anyone!
Yeah I have told her before and I haven't had anything done since, but family have and she's done the same thing. So I don't know for sure that she would behave in the same way with me again, but I do suspect that she would.

(Original post by Matthew150)
Judging from what you've written, it does sound like you're going for a blood test for something very personal.

The point is, I know she's family etc etc, but there comes a point. When she steps into work, she should be stepping into professionalism, and anybody working in association with any Medical Records has to have a very high level of confidentiality.
She may also be breaching confidentiality for other patients, whom she is unrelated to.

I wouldn't advise telling her not to report anything to your parents, as she'll then be on the look out for your result.

I would recommend telling the healthcare professional/Doctor you are seeing about the situation. They won't be able to get her fired or anything without you making an official complaint/report.
Maybe then, they'll either be able to submit the results themselves, or pass it onto a colleague in the Department other than your aunt. There will be ways that they'll be able to sort this.
Thanks, this is good advice, I appreciate it. If it was anyone else, like a family friend or something, I would literally just tell them to sod off and I'd report them there and then. Either way, I have to get it sorted out because I can't be getting this worried about it, it's not helping!
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RibenaRockstar
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Can you ask your doctor to submit the sample with a code rather than your name? This must happen, I mean I can't imagine the Royal Family's blood samples being tested with their real name attached!
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Miel Purple
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Wow that is breaking confidentiality surely....tough to report her as she's your family but I would talk to her first.
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SerotoninAddict
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Yeah, I'd imagine you could get it done anonymously? You can pretend like you don't want your uncle's wife to find out just yet and worry, you don't have to say that she'll pass the information on and worry your parents.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by RibenaRockstar)
Can you ask your doctor to submit the sample with a code rather than your name? This must happen, I mean I can't imagine the Royal Family's blood samples being tested with their real name attached!

(Original post by Ian80)
Yeah, I'd imagine you could get it done anonymously? You can pretend like you don't want your uncle's wife to find out just yet and worry, you don't have to say that she'll pass the information on and worry your parents.
This is brilliant, thanks, I didn't realise this was an option . I will mention it to my GP. Thank you .
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OrlaCarmel
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I have been lucky in my life (touch wood) to never have to go to the doctor or hospital for anything serious. I have had a few procedures and a few tests for things, to rule things out, and to make sure I'm okay for the procedures, but nothing life threatening. However, I have a problem.

I'm quite a private person, and choose not to share my medical issues with my family. Of course, I would if it was anything serious, but I don't really like talking about it with other people, especially for a few of the issues because it's down to me making mistakes (don't go there, it's not really relevant).

My Uncle's wife works in the bloods department at our local hospital, and is responsible for receiving the samples from the lab and inputting the results and getting in touch with GPs/consultants if necessary based on the results. Whenever she sees something from our family, she will get in touch. For example, my Grandad fainted a few years ago out of the blue so went for a test, and she told a couple of family members he was there "in case he hadn't had chance to get in touch". She told them without his permission - what if he hadn't WANTED to get in touch?

I also had a blood test two years ago for "something" that I would rather nobody knew I had to be tested for. The way I got the results of the test was through my Mum, saying "Aunty **** said your **** test was negative". I was absolutely fuming. Completely and utterly. I don't know what to do about it. If I report her, surely she will lose her job - if it was anyone else I would do it, but because it's family I don't know what to do. And also these few incidents (there are a couple more as well) were several years ago so I doubt there would be any proof now anyway. I had asked her not to do it but she has done it since with my brother when he had to have a little op ("oh I didn't know he was in hospital having surgery" to my elderly grandparents who we hadn't told because they'd only worry - it was a day case so nothing they needed to worry about) and it almost seems as though she enjoys causing the trouble.

Anyone any idea what I can do about this? I ask because I'm having another test soon for something that I definitely don't want people knowing about until I'm ready to tell them - and I'd give anything if I could make sure my Aunty didn't see the result, even though I know she will because she works there. I understand that she's in a bit of a funny position, in that she will know that something huge is happening in my life, yet she has to separate herself from that and NOT tell my family.. but I'm sure she will tell them. *Sigh*

Any advice? I'm worried, which isn't going to help with the thing I'm being tested for!!
Honestly, I think you should report her. What she is currently doing is extremely unethical. Think of it this way: if she is doing with with her own family, what other unethical behaviours might she be up to?

I know she's your Aunt but she's causing you and your family which isn't kind!
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moonkatt
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She processes samples and inputs the data. It's not her job to contact patients and give them the results. She may not understand the significance of the information she's divulging to people. By giving information about blood tests to other relatives to pass on she may somehow think she's being helpful, but the rules on patient confidentiality should have been hammered into her when she started her job and all the time within her job. She's making a massive breach of confidentiality and if found out she'd lose her job.

Have you spoken to her about this previously?
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