Indiana Supreme Court revives suit against hospital

The Indiana Supreme Court has revived part of a lawsuit against Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, which alleges that the health system disclosed a patient's medical information to a third party, who then posted the information to Facebook. 

The lawsuit stemmed from an instance in 2018 when a patient visited Community Health Network's emergency department and needed to receive follow-up information regarding her care. 

The employee from the emergency department tried to contact the patient, but could not, and decided to write a letter regarding the diagnosis and treatment the patient received. However, the letter was mailed to the wrong address and the person who received it posted it to Facebook. 

The patient sued the health system, alleging that it invaded her privacy, that its training was negligent and that it was liable for its employee's unauthorized disclosure of her private health information. 

The lawsuit also claimed Community was liable for negligently maintaining the confidentiality of her private information. 

In a previous trial, the court granted Community summary judgment on all the counts.

On Sept. 25, in a court document obtained by Becker's, Chief Justice Loretta Rush concluded that the hospital is "not entitled to summary judgment on the patient's privacy claim because the hospital did not negate the public-disclosure tort's publicity element."

Ms. Rush also stated that the hospital is "entitled to partial summary judgment on the patient’s negligence claim."

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