Medical Privacy

You receive an identification bracelet when you go to a hospital.  Before you leave the hospital, that bracelet is supposed to be removed.  Do you know why?  You might think the ID bracelet is just not needed anymore.  The reason it is removed, is you might forget about the bracelet, and removing the bracelet protects your privacy.

Your privacy is protected even when you receive a doctor’s note to allow you to go back to school or work.  The only information the note contains is that you have been under the care of a doctor.  Why you have been under the care of a doctor is not their business.

Whether you share your medical information, or not, is under your control.  If you want your spouse, or other family member, to be given information regarding your condition and care, you must authorize specifically in writing what type of information can be shared and with whom.  Your employer is not entitled to your personal health information.   Your neighbors are not entitled to your personal health information.  You do not need to share any personal health information on the internet to receive prayer (just ask for prayer).

Yes, there are laws in place that if you have a condition that directly impacts another person, such as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or other disease spread by person to person contact, those people who may have been exposed must be notified.

If you have a heart condition, diabetes, depression, anxiety, cancer or other condition, you don’t need to advertise the condition to anyone.  You do not need to share the information with your boss, clients, or co-workers.  You don’t need to tell your aunts, uncles, or cousins.  You don’t even need to tell your brothers and sisters,  and you may not even want to share all the details with your spouse.  Even if your condition is protected by the American’s with Disability Act, you don’t have to tell anyone about it, not even your employer.

We know that relationships can be affected by knowledge of our health, so sometimes we keep the news to ourselves.  We don’t want others worrying about our job performance, because of an illness.  We don’t want our friends and family to treat us differently, so we keep quiet.

Some conditions come with a stigma attached.  Remember two years ago, Aid  Doctors were kept in isolation upon returning home, after treating Ebola patients.  There were questions about whether they should even be allowed into the country for treatment.

Being private about these matters does not mean you are ashamed.  It does mean that you can get on with the business of living.  You can go to your job without your employer or co-workers fearful that you can no longer do your job.  You can interact with your family and friends without questions and expressions of sympathy.  You can be free of people watching you, waiting for whatever happens next.

You get to be you, not just a disease.

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