Did Adam Schefter violate Jason Pierre-Paul's HIPAA rights?
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.
Now, the question is who gave Schefter the medical charts and do we think he's that stupid to release confidential information knowing the consequences?
Some believe that this was a blatant violation by Schefter of Pierre-Paul's privacy.
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.
This is a tricky situation, as there's also the angle to all of this that it's not Schefter who is in the wrong rather it's his source who leaked the charts to him.
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.
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:
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