I was put on paid leave of absence after arriving to ER very sleepy. I had taken amitriptyline prior to ER call. I had a prescription for this for back pain. I offered to take a urine drug screen and told the doctor what I had been using. I had a prescription for both Tylenol 3 two times daily and clonazepam. I took only the tylenol 3 that evening as well as my amitriptyline. I was told to go home and the following day they put me on leave with pay because of the extra stress in my life. I tested positive for the opiate and the benzodiazipine. I also tested positive for amphetamine and immediately denied the use of amphetamines. I felt pretty bad and went home that day thinking noone believed me. I had the clonazepam rx for some time, was only given 30. At the time I was put on a leave of absence I had 24 left. I was having trouble coping with the leave of absence as well as issues with my husband.I began taking the clonazepam 1 mg two tabs two times per day. I moved out of my home and moved into a new place. I then fell down the stairs and do not remember many of the events that occurred for three days. I left for California with my son and daughter. My husband then came to a party I had thrown for my father after specifically being told not to come. On the way back from California, my husband called me and asked me where I was. When I lied he told me he could see me which of course with our background of some violence over 17 years ago, I thought he would come to kill me. We contacted the police, who told us to go home and contact local authorities, which I did. I stayed up feeling like I needed to stay awake to protect myself. The last thing I remember was he texted me at 5 am telling me he was heading home.I don't remember anything after that. My son told me I was found sitting in the bathroom rocking back and forth but not talking. I was taken to the ER in the same ER I had worked. I tried to tell everyone there that I did not overdose that evening but noone listened and I was sent to a 72 hr hold at a mental facility. After I was released I went to my father's home. I contacted my employer and told them I would come home the following Wednesday.In the meantime, my husband found out where I was by papers left out at the nurses station and came to the hospital despite my refusing to see him.I was also fired from my position at the hospital I worked at. This was decided a few days after my visit to the ER. I believe the dismissal was a result of my ER visit. I have nothing to prove it.1) Is there a Hippa violation occurring in this situation?2) Was my termination appropriate?Thank you
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Nevada
1) If there was no HIPAA release signed regarding your husband having access to your medical records and the hospital released personal healthcare information to your husband without you signing a HIPAA release, then this is a violation. Under HIPAA there is no private right to sue, you must file a complaint with the Department of Health and Hospitals and they have the sole authority to investigate and penalize the healthcare provider for any violations. If the Department of Health and Hospitals finds that there was a violation of HIPAA, then you could sue the hospital under the state privacy of medical records law for breach of the duty of Confidentiality in releasing your medical records without your written consent.2) As far as your termination, this is a much more difficult question. Employment in NV is considered at will absent a written employment contract to the contrary and the at will employee may be fired for no reason at all or for any reason not based only on their age/race/sex/Disability. An employer cannot terminate you based on your disability or perceived disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The timing of the termination makes this at the least a circumstantial case that you were terminated based on the emergency room visit and circumstances surrounding that visit. However, you would have to prove that this was either a qualified disability (one that permanently impairs a major life function) or that the employer perceived it as a qualified disability in order to have a case for wrongful termination under the ADA. This is going to depend on any witnesses or physical evidence you can put together to overcome whatever alleged legitimate business reason the employer has for your termination pursuant to the US Supreme Court Case of McDonnell Douglas v. Green. If you cannot overcome the employer's alleged legitimate business reason for the termination with some evidence, then your circumstantial case would fail. In order to pursue a case of a discriminatory discharge under the ADA, you would have to file a complaint with the EEOC and they would have to investigate to grant you a right to sue letter and you have 180 days from the date of the discharge to file such a complaint or you would lose your rights to pursue the matter any further.
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