Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tenuous Arguments

On my recent trip I learned that there are Virginians who are still mad about West Virginia's split from the state during the civil war. One of the arguments they make is that it was a violation of the US Constitution for a state to be created from the territory of another state. This seems ironic since Virginia had seceded from the United States at that time. I think that is also forbidden in the Constitution.

Hearing today about the trials now under way at Guantanamo Bay caused me to find similar irony. The media is sequestered away and listens to the trial over speakers that can be muted to prevent them from hearing classified information. One of the defendants was talking about the psychotropic drugs he was presently being given by doctors there. The speakers were turned off so that reporters couldn't hear what the drugs were. It was explained that it would be a HIPAA violation to reveal his health care information. The irony is that the trials are there at gitmo because the government says the US Constitution doesn't apply there. I guess HIPAA regulations reach farther than the Constitution? Now that I think about it, since the defendant was talking about himself, the question comes up: is it a HIPAA violation to reveal your own health care information?

1 comment:

zen said...

You're exactly right, Edward - HIPAA rules are about individual control over how your health information is used and where it might be revealed without your permission. The individual in question talking about their medical conditions under the oath of law would not be a violation of those rules unless the defendant was unaware that the court proceedings were being broadcast to the media, and as far as i know they are aware that reporters are listening to the testimony.