When Jason Pierre-Paul blew up his hand in a fireworks accident, we didn't know the full extent of the injury until ESPN insider Adam Schefter broke the news on Wednesday night. As it turns out, JPP needed to amputate one of his fingers to speed up the healing process, something that appears to have been his decision.
What might not have been his decision was making that bit of information public before he wanted it known. It's unclear who leaked the medical chart to Adam Schefter that confirmed the amputation, but there has been an uproar on social media of folks not too pleased with the ESPN reporter for passing along what is otherwise confidential information between a patient and a doctor.
Here's the tweet in question which everyone is talking about as violating JPP's patient-doctor confidentiality agreement.
ESPN obtained medical charts that show Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul had right index finger amputated today. pic.twitter.com/VI5cbS1uCw
If JPP didn't authorize the release of the medical charts — which might be hard to do if he was still in surgery when Schefter made the report — then he could face a steep fine for breaching someone's privacy.
Unless Pierre-Paul consented to disclosure, someone (hospital worker?) violated HIPAA. Max HIPAA penalty: only $50K. https://t.co/ErvzocBonY
Unless Schefter broke into the hospital and stole the records himself, he might be in the clear as far as a fine or any legal wrongdoing. It's whoever took the charts and gave him access to it that would be the primary wrongdoer here. That still doesn't fully clear Schefter — legally or ethically — but it's not like he stole them himself, which is what you'd think based on the reaction.
Tim Graham, a reporter for the Buffalo News cleared up the question of the legality of Schefter tweeting out the medical records of JPP with or without his consent. Basically, it's not on Schefter if someone released the information to him without the consent of the patient — that's on the medical professional.
As someone who has obtained/reported medical records (Joe Mesi brain bleeds), I can state it is not illegal to receive or report them. (1/2)
Thanks to the advent of Twitter and the way we pass along information these days, this is going to be a debate we wage for a while. Was it wrong of Schefter to release information he didn't get first-hand, or was it a case of excellent modern reporting?
What this mostly happens to be is a commentary and reflection of the digital media era we live in and how fast something like someone's medical records can be spread to millions of followers at the push of a button.
See photos from Pierre-Paul's years with the Giants:
Jason Pierre-Paul with Giants
Did Adam Schefter violate Jason Pierre-Paul's HIPAA rights?
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul removes the bandage from his damaged hand after the Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18 during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
NFL referee Clete Blakeman, check's the bandage on New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul's hand before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Pierre-Paul is playing in his first game since injuring his hand with fireworks during the off-season. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 05: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 5, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FILE - In this July 24, 2014, file photo, New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul talks to reporters during an NFL football camp in East Rutherford, N.J. Pierre-Paul has rapid-fire answers for just about anything he is asked, from the state of the New York Giants' defensive line to his own health to some missing teammates. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) recovers a fumble by the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants on the bench in the game with the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) stiff-arms New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, right, warms up with Osi Umenyiora, left, before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates after sacking San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith during the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
COMMERCIAL IMAGE - In this photograph taken by AP Images for NFL, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre Paul is seen during the National Football League Back to Football Run on Friday, Aug. 30, 2012 at Central Park in New York. (John Minchillo/AP Images for NFL)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) reacts with teammate Osi Umenyiora (72) after sacking New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez during the first half of a preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is interrupted as he signs autographs at the NFL football team's training camp in Albany, N.Y., Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul (90) reacts after sacking Philadelphia Eagles' Mark Sanchez during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
FILE - This is a 2012 file photo showing Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants NFL football team. Giants defensive end Pierre-Paul had successful surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, the team has announced. The operation took place Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at a hospital in Marina Del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/ File)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, presents New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul with a ceremonial set of keys to the city during a ceremony for the NFL football Super Bowl XLVI champions at City Hall in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates after his team's 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11: New York Giants NFL player Jason Pierre-Paul arrives at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 14: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants warms up prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on September 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21: Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants looks to sack Shaun Hill #14 of the St. Louis Rams during the third quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17: Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants returns an interception for a touchdown against Scott Tolzien #16 of the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17: Jason Pierre-Paul #90 talks with Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeat the Packers 27-13. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)