Especially considering it’s not even 8 a.m. yet.
A mother had taken her seven-year-old son to a doctor’s appointment in Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri; one of many visits her son must go through because he is going deaf.
Mandi Kay Wilson takes photos of her son during these visits to post online, part of a Go Fund Me campaign to help raise money for her son’s medical expenses.
But last week, the audiologist berated her for taking photos, insisting that it was against policy to photograph her son in her office. The doctor then admitted she was upset because a framed picture of her daughter had come out in the background of one of Wilson’s previous photos posted online.
And you know how weird people get about their kids being photographed. But to freak out over a photo of a photo? One that she evidently was proud to display in her office?
It get worse ….
The doctor called a security guard, who told her she had no right to photograph her son because of the federal HIPAA law, which is a huge misconception we’ve seen played out many times over the years by cops, paramedics and hospital staff.
HIPAA laws pertain to the privacy of medical records and has nothing to do with photography or videography in hospitals, especially of your own relative (patients with an expectation of privacy should not be photographed against their will but that wouldn’t fall under the HIPAA law).
Wilson began recording. Here is part of their conversation:
Guard: “Even if it’s like your own child or whatever, it’s just how the federal government how their regulations are. How many pictures do you have on your phone right now that were taken on property?”
Mother: “I don’t know.”
Guard: “Okay, um, could I see those please?”
Guard: “Okay, here’s what is going to happen if you do not cooperate. I am going to have to escort you off the property.”
Guard: “We will trespass you and they will probably fire you as a patient.”
Mother: “That’s fine, I’m already going to withdraw from Mercy that’s okay.”
Guard: “Okay, um, I need to see your identification.”
Mother: “Are you security? What’s it for? I’m going leave.
Guard: “It’s for legal, I need to see identification.”
Mother: “What kind of legal purposes?”
Guard: “I have to do a report on this because your being trespassed.”
Mother: “I’m trespassing for what?”
Guard: “You are being trespassed for violation of HIPAA.”
Mother: “I didn’t know I was trespassing, I had no idea.”
Guard: “Well, I am informing you now… you are being trespassed if you come back on this property you will be detained and taken to Greene County Jail.”
Mother: “Because I took a picture of my son!? I was unaware that I couldn’t take a picture of my son on my phone.”
Guard: “Well now you know and you are not cooperating because you won’t let me see your picture.”
Mother: “That’s personal property.”
Guard: “It may be personal property, but it’s taken on these premises, which is my property.”
Wilson says the appointment for her son was supposed to be an hour tops, but it turned into two and an experience she would like to forget.
“I was scared. They were scaring me, intimidating me and I didn’t know what they were doing with my kid. For some reason, my only thoughts were she’s on Medicaid so they are going to call CPS and report me to medicaid,” says Wilson.
Wilson is looking for an attorney to see what her options are.
Mercy sent us a statement about this story:
Spokeswoman Sonya Kullmann says Mercy policy forbids visitors from including other people in photographs. But, Kullmann says this story has prompted a review of how mercy officials enforce their policies regarding photography within their facilities.
Just think how easy this could have been resolved if the doctor had simply asked the mother to remove the photo that contained the photo. Or at least crop the photo out of the photo, then just ask the mom not to include the photo in any future photos.
Wilson would have happily obliged because it’s not even about the doctor’s daughter, it’s about her son. Judging from her Go Fund Me, the picture in question is no longer there.
Recently we have discovered that 7 year old Cruz is losing his hearing. We are yet to discover why his hearing loss is fading away. Our hope is to find the reason and hopefully prevent it from diminishing for good.
His mother, Mandi, is a single mom that works three different jobs as a yoga therapist, instructor, hair and makeup artist, and also attends further schooling/training for yoga therapy. All the while she is traveling to different specialists and more to hopefully find the reasoning behind his hearing loss. So far we don’t have any answers and we hope to find them before it’s too late.
We ask of any amount of donation to help relieve financial burdens on Mandi and for traveling cost/expenses that come with all the appointments and more.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and more.