Medical officials in breach of doctor-patient confidentiality disciplined

By Hoang Vu   September 6, 2020 | 11:51 pm PT
Medical officials in breach of doctor-patient confidentiality disciplined
A medical worker holds a vial containing Covid-19 test sample at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Two medical officials in Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands have been disciplined for sharing the medical records of a suspected Covid-19 case online.

Mai Xuan Hai, director of Gia Lai's Health Department, said Sunday it has given an official warning against Vo Xuan Thanh, head of the Department of Diseases Control at Dak Po District Medical Center and a reprimand against Nguyen Thi Thuan, head of a medical center in the district’s Tan An Ward.

The suspected case was a 27-year-old man residing in Tan An who returned from Da Nang, then Vietnam’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot, on July 31. He was quarantined at home after submitting a medical declaration.

After developing a cough and fever, he visited Dak Po District Medical Center for a health check on August 6. Doctors subsequently diagnosed him with dengue fever and took his samples for Covid-19 testing, putting him on the list of those suspected of carrying the novel coronavirus.

Before receiving his official Covid-19 results, Thanh photographed and sent his medical records to Thuan via a messaging app.

Thuan then forwarded the photos to the Tan An Ward chairman who later sent them to the head of Tan Lap Village, the patient's hometown.

Shortly thereafter, family members of the Tan Lap head posted the pictures on Facebook. The information has been shared many times since, causing public confusion and anxiety because Gia Lai has not recorded any Covid-19 case at the time.

On August 7, the suspected case’s samples returned negative. Gia Lai remains clean.

"Photographing the patient's medical records was wrong in accordance with health sector regulations. Sharing the patient's information in the absence of official test results has led to public confusion," Hai said.

The country’s Covid-19 tally now stands at 1,049 with 177 active cases and 35 deaths.

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