Sharing patient's photo on social media is not illegal, Minnesota court rules

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week ruled that a nurse's aide who shared a photo of a senior care facility patient on social media did not violate patient privacy laws, reports the StarTribune.

The aide posted a photo of the patient, who has Alzheimer's disease, on her personal social media page with a demeaning caption in 2017. The patient's husband filed a lawsuit against the senior care facility, Byron, Minn.-based Madonna Summit, alleging the post disclosed private health information.

However, the court ruled that the post could not be classified as an unauthorized release of health records since the photo did not disclose any identifying information about the patient or care setting. As such, Madonna Summit cannot be held liable under state law.

Some elder care experts are troubled by the ruling and argue it could encourage caretakers to post inappropriate images of patients without fear of repercussion.

Madonna Summit terminated the nurse's aide and retrained all staff members on patient privacy policies after the event occurred.

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