Court Permits Breach of Privacy Suit against Physician for Release of Photos beyond Patient’s Consent
September 19, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
The Utah Court of Appeals has ruled that negligence and privacy claims against a physician may proceed to trial in a lawsuit alleging that the physician wrongfully provided photos identifying the patient to a TV news reporter who was preparing a segment about the dangers of cosmetic surgery. The ruling reverses a lower court's summary judgment on behalf of the physician. Although the patient had agreed to be photographed and interviewed as part of the report, she signed a consent form that stated she did not agree to reveal her identity or be associated with photos that were taken in connection with a surgical procedure performed by the defendant physician. She filed a lawsuit against the news organization, which was settled, and then filed suit against the physician and his practice, alleging that the physician's release of her photos and the office manager's release of her "nickname" to a reporter constituted an unlawful breach of her privacy. The consent form signed by the patient permitted the patient's photos to be released to others for educational purposes.