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Invasion of privacy may rise to level of medical malpractice

When one thinks of a medical malpractice case, incidents such as surgical errors, failures to diagnose an illness, or secondary infections may come to mind. In Pennsylvania, as elsewhere, medical professionals are not only supposed to do their jobs correctly, they are also held to a higher standard of conduct. As it turns out, falling below such standards may constitute also medical malpractice.

A recently-filed case illuminates how patient dignity is something that should also be protected during a health care experience. And violating such dignity can land medical professionals in hot water. A former employee of a Pennsylvania hospital underwent surgery at the facility where she had worked. Before the procedure, the patient participated - with other employees - in a practical joke on the surgeon.

During the procedure, however, a member of the surgical team took nude photos of the patient, thinking it was an extension of the joke, and later showed the photos to the patient. Not having given permission for such photos to be taken, the patient was justifiably upset. She subsequently sued the hospital and the surgeon, alleging invasion of privacy and medical malpractice.

A case like the above is an important reminder of the standards to which health care professionals must be held. Patient dignity is a core tenet in any health care system, when a medical professional fails to respect such dignity, they likely fall below their profession's standard of conduct. Those who feel they've been subjected to a lack of professionalism that resulted in emotional damages may want to consider consulting an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Claims Journal, "Pennsylvania woman sues over nude photos taken on operating table," Jan. 3, 2018

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