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The Notice of Privacy Statement

by Aleeza 8 months ago in Humanity
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Please read in the privacy of your own home

The Notice of Privacy Statement
Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

I was at the pharmacy the other day, and it tickled me that I had to sign a form to acknowledge I was aware of my privacy rights - to be more specific, I had to sign at the bottom of this form, under a long list of other customer names with stickers out beside each one that indicated how many prescriptions each person received.

~

This brought to mind some recent, yet typical, experiences…

~

I walk into the doctor's office, go to the front counter where the expected clipboard with the sign in form is, and write not only my name, but also disclose my insurance company, as well as any address and phone number changes. With an upward glance, I see that about 20 people have already signed their names on this same page. Hmm....

~

A few minutes later, I am called back to the desk, where I am asked to orally recite, within hearing distance of every other patient in the waiting room, the information I just wrote on the form on the clipboard on the counter in front of both of us. I am then immediately handed this privacy statement; later, I will have to sign a form that indicates I have been notified of privacy rights. I throw it away on my way to sit down with the 20 other people whose privacy is being guarded by the medical institution.

~

Oh, what is this? I am being called to the desk again - you remember, the desk that is placed within hearing distance of all 20 people in the waiting room. My insurance card is no good? Again? I was just here two weeks ago, and it was fine. Try again. Oh, you need my full name, date of birth, social security number, and why stop there.... my husband's name, birthdate, social security number, and while we are being so private, where and when I have used the card recently? Any other problems? Oh, well, here it goes... must have been a glitch in the system. Hey, is there powerpoint? All these people need is my address... Oh, wait, there it is on that form that every patient signs, sitting on the front counter that every patient and family member or friend walks by.

~

I go back to my seat. After two hours of waiting and having 20 more people be witnesses to my private medical visit, my name is called (just in case anyone doesn't know by now) to take the walk through "the door." On the way, I am asked to repeat, in the privacy of the walkway where other patients and medical staff are, my full name and birthdate.

~

I am lead to the pre-visit section of the office.. umm, hallway? … where my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature are taken. I am weighed, and a nurse asks me the reason for my visit. All of this is "privately" going on while other patients, nurses, office employees, etc. are walking here and there behind or beside me; of course, they are minding their own business though.

~

Now I go to a room. Finally, a little bit of privacy! Well... maybe not so much. Now I can hear the doctor talking to the patient next door. Okay, so whoever is on the other side of that wall will be able to hear my "private" visit with the doctor. I don't open up to my doctors anyway (if it doesn't show up in the lab work, what's the use anyway, right?), but if I did, I'm not sure I would want everyone else hearing me complain as well. And let’s be honest, by the time you have repeated your complaints to every single person who you come in contact with, from the first call asking for an appointment, to the one who calls you back, to the one who gets your vitals, to the one who takes does your X-rays, to the one who is the medical student, and then eventually to the nurse practitioner or doctor, you have given up already anyway.

~

My chart is placed on the door - the outside of the door, where it is private but in full view of anyone who walks by. This is a must. The doctor has to be able to pick it up so he will have something to look at when he walks in the door. You know, it makes him look like he has been reading our charts and so forth, but actually, he is just looking to see what my name is. Just ask the patient walking by; she has heard it a few times already, doctor.

~

Oh, don't forget "the cup." If it isn't bad enough to have to do it to begin with, "the cup" has to be carried from the restroom through the not-so-private hallway to the lab. Right... very private.

~

Okay, now I wait some more. While I wait, I hear the doctor pacing up and down the hall, talking into his voice recorder, recapping the visit with the patient he just left. Oh, so now it is not just the patient next door who gets to listen in to the results of my test, what I told the doctor, what his assessment is, but also everyone who is walking in the hall or in one of the rooms attached to it.

~

I can now leave! I walk to the check-out desk, but two patients are ahead of me. I guess we are all in this private thing together because we get to hear where each of us is being sent for further tests, what the test is, when to show up, and when to come back to this doctor, among other things.

~

By the time I reach the desk, a phone call leaves me quietly waiting. Oh, it is Mr. So-and-So. Okay, Mr. So-and-S0, what is your problem todav? Oh, (repeats and asks further questions). We can get you in at _. What is your date of birth, Mr. S0-and-So? Are you still taking _? I hope Mr. So and So doesn't expect too much privacy either...

~

When I leave, I go to the lab, where much of the experience is the same. However, here I am called up twice - once for the normal insurance and payment consultation - then again to be rebuked. After an hour and a half of waiting, I am called up for that second time: Mrs. ___, you are supposed to tell us as soon as you sign in that you are a stat patient. The doctor wants your results ASAP because we have to test this and this because of this and this. Oh, thanks, just what I want everyone to know. I turn around and say hi to the 20 patients who now know how anemic I am and the possible reasons why. And by the way, if I had known that I didn't have to wait that hour and a half, you'd better believe I would have told them who I was and why I was there immediately, but the other thirty times I had been there for the very same thing, no one else had brought that wonderful fact to my attention!

~

I am hurriedly sent to the area where they will draw my blood; however, there are already four other people standing around in this crowded little space, so I find my little "private" area between two other people and wait for my turn again. When I sit in the chair, I push my sleeve up, thankful that I have great veins for this purpose, even if I look like a drug addict with all those little holes on my veins from years of drawing blood, when she asks. "What is your name and birthdate?" I look around, eight eyes are focused on me. Should I go ahead and offer a question/ answer session so the curious at heart can be satisfied? Again, I think for the 4th time, I give my name and birthdate. It's a good thing I am not self-conscious about my age; as a matter of fact, I have to do the math every time someone asks me, but isn't it common knowledge that you don't ask a woman her age?

~

Okay, now to recall a hospital visit. It is time to leave my room and go to surgery. I can't get up and walk like a regular person, I have to be wheeled - lying down, through hall after hall. If I felt like it, I could meet and greet the many people we pass; more than anything, I just want to get somewhere "private." But, what has happened? I am now waiting in the hall. The next waiting area has not yet been vacated. Oh, lovely, I could take advantage of more meet and greet time, but I try to seek "privacy" by blending in to the thin blanket that covers the almost sheer hospital gown, which leaves me shivering with cold.

~

At least this gets my mind off the people who pass and stare... think warm thoughts... oh, now I get pushed into the new waiting area. Oh, no, I am now in line again. Other patients are in here too. Yes, we now have this little curtain thing separating us for "privacy." However, it is not sound-proof. My turn... What is your name? Your date of birth? Why are you here? etc... Of course, we don't want them confusing me with someone else who is also waiting for surgery, but do I really want all this info advertised to the whole room? I don't think so, but oh, well.. it is a matter of convenience and expense. Now they know I am who my hospital bracelet says I am, so they will continue to explain that I am about to be put to sleep and what will happen in the surgery.

~

Please, just put me out of this misery. Isn't it difficult enough to be a patient without exposing one physically, mentally, and emotionally?

~

Time to wake up! Oh, yes, can this finally be over?! Oh, I am not in my room: I am in post op - you guessed it, with several other patients. No, I am not so drugged that I am not aware of the many people going in and out and around, and how exposed I am as well.

~

So many people, yet the one person with whom I am supposed to have this "private" doctor/ patient relationship with is not there... he is in the waiting room telling my family (and the 50 other people waiting for their loved ones in the same room) what happened during surgery, and my family gets to decide what to tell me later. Of course, all family members and friends who may be there have encircled the doctor, listening to the findings. Didn't the doctor look at the privacy form I signed - you know, the one where I have to indicate with whom he can share results? I am pretty sure I did not put down "Everyone." But, hey, it's just us, isn't it??

~

Okay, I am tired, so I will stop here, but you get the point... So smile a little ... and remember, your privacy is important to us :)

Humanity

About the author

Aleeza

Love to write. Love to connect. Love to learn. Love to observe. My writing is my bio. I am found in what I write, I am in the music that surrounds me, I am the reader in reflection.

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