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Doctor Tweets Info About Patient’s Thanksgiving Dinner Causing COVID. Other Doctors Blast Her.
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On Tuesday evening, a doctor who reportedly takes care of COVID-19 patients posted a tweet with a picture of herself in which she claimed one of her patients hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 22 people and all 22 people subsequently developed COVID-19 symptoms. She concluded, “We are so tired.” Her tweet triggered blasts on social media from those who saw it as virtue-signaling and also a violation of the privacy of her patient.

Rebecca Karb wrote, “Last night, one of my (many) patients with COVID told me she had a large Thanksgiving dinner with family — 22 people. The day after, one family member tested positive. Since then (according to my patient) *ALL* 22 people have developed symptoms, some severe. We are so tired.”

In the midst of the giant protests over the summer that triggered anger from people who felt there was a double standard about the sanctity of protests while other gatherings were forbidden, Karb mocked opponents of the protests, writing, “Acceptable reasons to ignore social distancing recs: birthday parties, haircuts, manicures, shopping, sports, you just don’t feel like it … Unacceptable reasons: protesting the murder of a black man by a white police officer and years of violence, intimidation, & structural racism.”

Responding to a tweet lauding protesters who targeted the city of Portland, Oregon in July, Karb wrote, “Don’t f*** with moms.”

An employee at CNN was interested in Karb’s Thanksgiving post:

Karb was slammed online for revealing private information from a patient.

One doctor reacted to Karb’s tweet by writing, “I have never been more embarrassed by my profession. It’s literally our job to take care of sick people with both preventable and unpreventable illness. We can complain, yes, but this public shaming of patients, who disclose information in confidence, is disgraceful.”

Radiologist Pradheep J. Shanker echoed, “Shaming your patients is always a great way to get people to trust doctors. Well done.”

Pundit Stephen Miller: “You’re a medical professional tweeting about what patients told you? Interesting.”

HIPAA’s Privacy Rule states, “The Privacy Rule protects PHI (protected health information) held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form, whether electronic, paper, or verbal. PHI includes information that relates to all of the following: The individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition.”

Becker’s Hospital Review noted in 2016, “Healthcare providers are required, under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, to protect and keep confidential any personal health information. It also sets limits and conditions on its use and disclosure without patient authorization. … Employees’ gossiping about patients to friends or coworkers is also a HIPAA violation that can cost a practice a significant fine. Employees must be mindful of their environment, restrict conversations regarding patients to private places, and avoid sharing any patient information with friends and family.”

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “The following covered entities must follow HIPAA standards and requirements: Covered Health Care Provider: Any provider of medical or other health care services or supplies who transmits any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard, such as: Chiropractors, Clinics, Dentists, Doctors…”

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