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Conference of the Chief of Police and disclosure of medical secrets. Expert comments

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During Thursday’s conference of the Chief of Police, Gen. Jarosław Szymczyk, many details about Mrs. Joanna were revealed – her personal life, psychiatric treatment and more. Hence the question whether it is possible to talk about medical confidentiality in this case when information becomes publicly available? Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

At one point, in the light of the cameras at the press conference, the medical secret ceased to be a secret, although the recording theoretically contains such information. The police disclosed some of the conversations between the doctor Joanna and the 112 dispatcher and a policeman from the municipal police station.

SEE THE MATERIAL OF “FACTS” TVN: Joanna took the abortion pill. The police came to the hospital, took her laptop and phone

According to the chief of police, the prosecutor’s office was to allow the publication of the recordings. It’s just that – as the lawyers claim – she had no such right, because only a court can give permission to disclose a medical secret.

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– There are certain sacred secrets: medical, confessional, lawyer and journalistic – says attorney Jacek Dubois. The police did it to save their own skin. It is shameful,” he adds.

READ ALSO: Joan’s case. The police showed the recordings

The police showed recordings of the police intervention against JoannaRadek Pietruszka/PAP/EPA

Psychiatrists defend doctor Joanna

According to experts, the police, who should be upholding the law, broke this law. – Medical confidentiality, and especially psychiatric medical confidentiality, is a very sensitive matter. We had no right to hear this dialogue – believes the former ombudsman for psychiatric patients, Błażej Kmieciak.

Some lawyers believe that the doctor also provided too much information in the conversation with the officer, especially the one about taking abortion pills, which caused the police reaction. – Such knowledge must be managed very sparingly, especially in conversation with a police officer – stresses advocate Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram.

Psychiatrists defend doctor Joanna and remind that the law allows for the disclosure of medical secrets when it comes to saving the life of a patient or another person. – The disclosure of this information to the emergency services was intended to ensure the well-being of this patient, it was absolutely not a denunciation – believes the president of the Polish Psychiatric Association, Dominika Dudek.

Police criticized for intervening against Joanna

But the actions of the police are assessed unequivocally. – The police have gone many, many steps too far – emphasizes Dominika Dudek.

The doctor herself admits in an interview with “Gazeta Wyborcza” that she did not expect the police to behave oppressively. “Today I would only call an ambulance,” she admits.

Even before the press conference, the police revealed information that they should not have disclosed. In press releases, she wrote that the woman “had an abortion” and “has been undergoing psychiatric treatment for years”. The statement from the police websites quickly disappeared.

– The commander and the police should be sued for this and in my opinion it will be a record compensation in this country – says Jacek Dubois. “What the police have done is double victimization. The police, by publishing the recordings, gives Joanna another trauma – adds Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram.

SEE ALSO: Joan’s case. Notification of the possibility of committing a crime by the police

“Such actions are not provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure”

The effects of making a doctor’s conversation with the services public can have dramatic consequences. – A specific patient suffers here, but in the future other patients may be concerned that their conversations with doctors, through no fault of the doctors, may be made public – points out Błażej Kmieciak.

The actions of the police – at every stage of Mrs. Joanna’s case – are an anti-example of how the services should behave in such cases – criminal experts say. This is not professional police behavior. Such actions are not provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police have no right to order people to undress – points out prof. Monika Płatek from the Institute of Criminal Law of the University of Warsaw.

Although the spokesman for the Chief of Police, Inspector Mariusz Ciarka, argues that “from the very beginning, we only care about the good of Mrs. Joanna”, the woman’s attorney is of a different opinion.

Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka/PAP/EPA

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