Okay that helps....this is what I understand:
Your client is the patient of the doctor
Your client's wife is a nurse that works for the doctor
The doctor had a sexual relationship with the nurse/wife
Q1. I believe there is a privacy violation as well as hippa.
As far as HIPAA violations go, you can report the matter to OCR for prosecution. See this link. You would need facts that would establish something along these lines for what you have described:
1. Releasing information to an undesignated party - only the exact person listed on the authorization form may receive patient information.
2. Telling friends or relatives about patients;
3. Discussing private health information in public areas of the office;
4. Discussing private health information over the phone in a public area;
5. Not logging off your computer or a computer system that contains private health information;
6. HIPAA regulations for "need to know" include: a nurse should not have access to private health information for patients that are not in her unit.
HIPAA regulates the use, transfer, and disclosure of identifiable health information. Not sure if your client gave the doctor permission to release information to wife/nurse when filling out the HIPAA notice and release form.
To prove this he would have to show facts to support an intentional interference with your client's interest in solitude or seclusion, either as to his person or as to his private affairs. Invasion of privacy by intrusion does not depend upon any publicity given to the person whose interest is invaded or to his affairs. To be actionable, the prying or intrusion into the plaintiff’s private affairs must be of a type which is offensive to a reasonable person.
Q2. What grounds do you think he has in filing a lawsuit against the practice?
The decisions of persons closely associated with a patient sometimes may impact on the health care provided to a patient. As such, these individuals play an important role in the fiduciary relationship between a physician and his patient. Therefore, the physician should maintain the same professional boundaries as he would with a patient. Physicians should refrain from sexual relationships with a patient's spouse as is the case here. If a physician engages in this type of intimate relationship he may be found to have committed professional misconduct. Your cleint can file a complaint with your state's medical board as a first option. These types of civil cases are more actionable when a pyschiatrict is involved since the patient is seeking mental health treatment as opposed to treatment for a physical ailment. However, the following factors may come into play:
- the length and intensity of the professional relationship;
- the degree of emotional dependence the individual associated with the patient has on the physician; and
- the degree to which the patient is reliant on the person closely associated with them.
So, your client may want to consider a civil breach of fiduciary duty suit against the doctor and the office.