Trichy

Chicago 024

“I was calling to talk to you about your test results. You have trichomonas, a sexually transmitted disease. You need to take a medication to get rid of it and have your sexual partners treated prior to resuming intercourse in order to prevent reinfection.”

There was silence on the line. I never know how these things will go. Yelling, screaming, sobbing, accusing me of making an error… or stone cold silence. It is always a crap shoot. She had been married for thirty years. I expected it was not going to be pretty.

“Doc, you can’t tell him,” she said finally.

“What do you mean I can’t tell him?”

“My husband. You can’t tell him. Say the medication is for a head cold or something. Just don’t tell him it is for an STD. He will know it was me, that I’ve been cheating on him.”

“He’s your husband but he is also my patient…. I am not here to judge you for having an affair, but I cannot lie about why he is taking a medication. AND this medication is not used for head colds.”

“Fine. But you cannot tell anyone about the test results if I don’t want you to, right? HIPAA laws and all that…”

“Well, let’s talk about that…”

“Wait. Just give me the medication. I will make up something. I promise he will take it.”

“Ma’am…”

“What if I just don’t have sex with him again? It won’t hurt him to not get treated, right?”

So. What would YOU do?

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190 thoughts on “Trichy

  1. I didn’t read the other comments.

    If HIPAA confidentiality regulations have any meaning at all, they should apply no matter if the parties are known or unknown to each other, married, partnered, single, gay or straight.

    Moral issues apart. Common sense issues apart. To handle situations such as the one you describe, exceptions would need to be written into the rules.

    However, you and I know that HIPAA regulations exist only to give the appearance of propriety, for they have no teeth, and are very laxly enforced. Therefore, a doctor could do whatever a doctor chose to do, and expect small or no bad consequence.

    I am speaking not only based upon what I have read, but as a woman whose HIPAA rights were repeatedly violated. All involved–Medical, insurers, legal, spouse–treated me like a naive child when I cried out “But… but… HIPAA!”

    Liked by 1 person

      • The problems occurred in 2007-2009. Violations were by my then-separated spouse, a major medical institution, an insurer, and the company providing the insurance. In 2009, I was forced to hire a lawyer–to address a larger non-HIPAA issue, but during which I again tried citing HIPAA violations to add some oomph. Silly me. It only re-emphasized how oomph-less all parties considered these.

        Here is one of the violations:

        My private medical data was being repeatedly sent, directly contrary to both the law and my expressed wishes, not to a total stranger, but to my husband’s mistress’s house (addressed to now legally-separated husband.)

        None of the violating parties felt this was any meaningful violation, because, after all, “he’s your husband”. They thought I was speaking crazy talk when I explained that HIPAA meant a husband had no right to any wife’s medical info even when sharing a roof.

        The other violation was more outrageous. I shall blog someday.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ye-es… My legally-separated abuser was accusing me in the divorce of not being even partly disabled–so that he wouldn’t have to come up with any scratch for me from his six-figure salary. He “somehow” kept getting my copies of insurance EOBs, and even my lab results. Each time I corrected the “error”, by doing a chg of address, I was told I was the one who had requested the prior chg to him at his then-residence. When I would demand proof–or even answering “When” this supposedly occurred–no answers were given–calls were sometimes literally terminated.

        We were insured through a doctors’ group created by and administered by the spouse’s subordinates, at a company of which he was CFO. Surely coincidence.

        I did get my medical mail forwarded by him, after days or weeks of delay and, perhaps, some time for research on his part.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Here’s my opinion. Given that the husband is your patient also, you have an obligation to tell him that, based on his wife’s latest test he may have trichomonas. Think of it as tough love. Besides, this is the 21st century. I would explain to wife that identifying the primary use for the medicine is as easy as entering the name in the Google blank, so keeping it a secret is naivety. Tell her that a marriage based on deceit is bound to fail.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a sticky situation 😐

    I told ALL my partners about my situation because I believe it’s fair and it allows them to make the decision if they feel comfortable enough to sleep with me. But the discussion is always an emotional thing for me to have since this is something I’ve had since birth not because I was promiscuous or something.

    When I told my GI doc this he looked at me weirdly and asked me why I felt the need to tell anyone. His advice was to not say anything till me and my partner had been together for a long time.

    Yet I disagree, it feels like trickery to me. I believe that the person that I’m sleeping with has every right to know what he/she is getting into, eyes wide open, and given the option to choose. Not to fall in love with me and find out later on that I was holding something back. It’s lying by omission by leaving out that details about myself, which is wrong! There’s no trust!

    I really hope she changes her mind and tells her husband…for his health and her consciences.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tough call. In some countries Doctors are or were required to report STD?
    She is in fact putting other people’s health at risk.
    Not just her husband. If you tell him, can she sue you?
    (Puzzled emoticon)
    (Glad I’m not a doctor emoticon)
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d get fired. That’s my standard answer now to anything having to do with employment this year… :p

    I didn’t read the 4 billion comments, so this may have been asked/answered, but if you are having a conflict of interest because you are seeing people from the same family with differing agendas, and there is that whole privacy thing, can you lose one of them to a referral to another doctor? Using the truthful statement that you cannot best care for all concerned? Of course, that will immediately raise red flags, and the truth will no doubt out, but if your hands are being tied it isn’t fair to the untreated spouse and perhaps the gaggle of lovers that this patient is holding you to.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. They say disease starts in the mind, the body receives the results. Her dilemma is found in pride, his will be in forgiveness. I read in the comments that she told him, very hard to do. Equally hard to forgive, yet the ultimate outcome is a possible healed relationship which more important than anything. I think you did your job the way it was intended. God has a tendency to work everything else out, if people are willing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I somehow never made the connection between Trichy and trichomonas before. In fact it was only in recent years that I knew there was such a thing as an STD. I grew up knowing one of my father’s relatives could not have children because he was a “bad” teenager, but I never understood why that would make him childless.

    Well, anyway, all that is not why I wanted to comment. The name Tiruchy is a good memory for me. It is a village in South India where my youngest daughter was born. I had a private doctor and a good private hospital where a helicopter landed for pick-up and delivery just beyond my window. WHERRRRRRROOOM!

    Crows flew in and out the open windows and little “critters” crawled in under the swinging half doors to find crumbs that patients or attendants dropped. I was there a whole week and felt rested before going back home to find that my year-old adopted son had contracted the Asian measles. He almost died, but didn’t. We were all blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

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