According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal and state authorities in charge of protecting private medical information are reportedly monitoring the situation in which Jason Pierre-Paul‘s medical records were leaked online by ESPN Wednesday night.
Adam Schefter elected to post an image of Pierre-Paul’s records, which prompted a great deal of criticism for his decision to include a photo when it didn’t seem necessary.
As of now, it remains unclear who is responsible for leaking the document to ESPN, but a person close to Pierre-Paul said that was unlikely that this came from his camp.
President and chief executive of Jackson Health System Carlos Migoya released a statement Thursday saying they are in the process of investigating the situation from their end.
“Late Wednesday, media reports surfaced purportedly showing a Jackson Memorial Hospital patient’s protected health information, suggesting it was leaked by an employee,” said Migoya. “An aggressive internal investigation looking into these allegations is underway. If these allegations prove to be true, I know the entire Jackson family will share my anguish.”
Many have said that ESPN is likely clear in this situation, seeing as Hipaa laws apply to insurers and medical professionals.
However, Lawrence Gostin, a law professor and faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, tells the Wall Street Journal that this is still a “gross transgression of privacy” from ESPN.
“From an ethical point of view, unless he specifically authorized it, it’s a gross transgression of privacy,” Gostin said.
“The harm of transmitting or broadcasting someone’s medical documents is you really don’t know what medical information is in there that’s coded in some way,” Kelly McBride, a journalism ethics expert at the Poynter Institute and a former ESPN ombudsman, said. “There could be some other information that isn’t obvious to you about the individual that’s in the medical document. When you make it public, someone who understands that coded information can decode it.”
Reports from Thursday night indicated that Pierre-Paul could consider legal action if the information was leaked from a hospital employee, but there hasn’t been any updates regarding this possibility since it was first proposed.
We’ll have more regarding Pierre-Paul as the news is available.