Medical Privacy and Safety - A Dangerous Conflict?
I have been reading the articles online about the VA Tech hearings. The young man who shot and killed so many people at VA Tech had shown years of warning signs that he would "go off." But, it seems that many of the privacy laws in place to protect actually ended up enabling this man's violent tendencies and other problems to go unchecked for years.
The fact that he had taken special education classes and assisted exams, which enabled him to obtain very high grades in high school was not mentioned on his transcript (a fact the Washington Post says was due to privacy laws). As a result, his high grades were a signal to VA Tech that he could handle the high-pressure environment of the university unassisted. When in college, his parents were unaware that he had been hosptialized for mental illness issues (due to the medical privacy laws), and they were unable to help him by removing him from school, or reaching out to him in response.
All of this makes me mad. . . the privacy laws seem to have removed what once governed our society -- common sense. If schools have the information they need, they can better support students. If family members are not kept out of the loop, due to senseless medical privacy restrictions, and if we, as employers have access to the information which affects andemployee's ability to function in the workplace, we would all be better off.