by Evan Sweeny.
Add Connecticut to the list of states that allow patients to sue providers for unauthorized disclosure of their medical records.
The high court’s ruling establishes a new legal precedent for the state, falling in line with other jurisdictions that allow patients to sue providers for damages tied to confidentiality violations.
The court issued the ruling on case involving a woman, Emily Byrne, who sued Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology in Westport, Connecticut, for negligence and breach of contract after the provider released Byrne’s medical records in response to a subpoena issued as part of a separate paternity suit. Although the subpoena required the “custodian of records” to appear before an attorney, Avery mailed a copy of Byrne’s medical records to the New Haven Regional Children’s Probate Court.
“We agree with the majority of jurisdictions that have considered the issue, and conclude that the nature of the physician-patient relationship warrants recognition of a common-law cause of action for breach of the duty of confidentiality in the context of that relationship,” he wrote.
“Finally we have a remedy in Connecticut that recognizes that there is a duty of confidentiality, the breach of which can lead to compensation for damages,” Bryne’s attorney Bruce L. Elstein told the Hartford Courant.