Board finalizes case for OB-GYN who discussed 10-year-old's abortion

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board issued its final order and reprimand against an obstetrician-gynecologist who spoke to the media about a 10-year-old abortion patient, the Indianapolis Star reported July 29.

The final order called on Caitlin Bernard, MD, to keep confidential "all knowledge and information" about her patients and ended all charges against her. Dr. Bernard's legal team is determining whether it wants to fight her punishment, which included a written reprimand and a $3,000 fine, by asking a judge to scrutinize how the board reached its decision that the physician violated privacy laws. 

Dr. Bernard came under scrutiny when she told the media about a 10-year-old rape victim, disclosing the victim's age and state of residence. The attorney general's office said in its complaint to the board that Dr. Bernard violated privacy laws by sharing that information and that she failed to immediately report the abuse to Indiana authorities.

The board rejected one count that she violated patient privacy laws and another that she was unfit to practice medicine. However, the majority of the board found Dr. Bernard had violated privacy laws by speaking about the case and that the information provided could make the patient identifiable.

The final order does not specify which details Dr. Bernard provided that could be used to identify the victim, instead saying that "when taken in their entirety" it fell outside the bounds of HIPAA allowances.

"In May, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board exonerated Dr. Caitlin Bernard on Attorney General [Todd] Rokita's most serious and baseless allegations," a statement from Dr. Bernard's attorneys read. "While we're grateful that the board reaffirms this ruling in their written decision, we continue to dispute the MLB's finding that Dr. Bernard violated patient privacy."

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