The recent case of the psychiatrist who was fined $50,000 for having inadvertently breached the confidentiality of one of his patients has caused a lot of disquiet among doctors (NUH doc fined for sharing patient's info, March 7).
It seems the fault lay in his failure to ascertain the identity of the person who was asking for information about his patient, despite the fact that he thought giving that information was necessary as the situation was deemed to be urgent.
How is a doctor supposed to act if, one day, he receives a phone call from a person claiming he is a doctor at the accident and emergency (A&E) department of another hospital and needs to urgently know what medication one of the doctor's patients is taking as that patient is now in the A&E due to an accident?
How can that doctor ascertain the identity of the person at the other end of the phone?
It is illegal to obtain information while pretending to be another person. This is akin to identity theft or cheating.
Shouldn't the person who is masquerading as another be charged with identity theft or cheating rather than the person who is giving out the information under those circumstances?
Ronald Paul Ng (Dr)