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Assessment of a medical case

Patty is a medical assistant in a family practice office. She receives a telephone call from Ms. Smith, the mother of one of the practice's patients. Ms. Smith is concerned about her 19-year-old daughter because her daughter has not been feeling well lately. Ms. Smith's daughter recently saw the doctor but did not share any of the information with her mom regarding the doctor's findings.

Ms. Smith asks Patty to pull her daughter's chart and to let her know what is wrong with her daughter.


- Answer the following questions:
- Can Patty do as Ms. Smith asks? Why or why not?
- What legal and ethical concepts are present in this situation that can influence the way Patty decided to handle this? Explain.

Solution Preview

* Patty cannot do as Ms. Smith asks because her daughter is 19 years old and she is considered old enough to determine that she wants to keep her medical information. Ms. Smith's daughter may not have specifically told the doctor that she does not want her mother to know about her medical information but Patty is required by law to keep her medical information private. Ms. Smith's daughter would need to give her mother written permission authorizing the mother to be informed of her medical condition in order to ask Patty or the doctor about the doctor's findings.

* Partially depending on what ...

Solution Summary

The following solution provides an assessment of a medical case involving a 19 year old girl. This solution explains the potential ethical issues involved when it comes to revealing private information about patients.