Patient Who Drove Drunk to ED Cannot Prevail in Claim for Disclosure of Medical Information

September 25, 2019 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In a lawsuit brought by an emergency department (ED) patient after a nurse told a police officer that the patient had driven drunk to the hospital and was about to drive home while still drunk, the Supreme Court of Vermont affirmed summary judgment in favor of the nurse and the hospital.

At 2:12 a.m., the patient arrived at the ED for treatment of a cut on her arm, having driven herself there. The charge nurse smelled alcohol on the patient's breath. In a test administered at 2:40 a.m., the patient's breath alcohol concentration was 0.215, more than two and a half times the legal limit for driving. Her cut was treated, but the...

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