Imagine what it must be like to have information regarding one of the arguably most personal and intimate lifetime events, broadcast throughout the world in dramatic detail. How many weeks was she? When was the baby due? Did she use pain medication? Did she deliver by cesarean? How long will she stay in the hospital? Will she breastfeed or bottle-feed? Family, friend and societal opinion and expectations regarding pregnancy, labor, delivery and childcare can be stress inducing even for those without the eyes of the world cast upon them.
In 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in part to maintain strong protections for the privacy of individually identifiable health information. While these provisions were created to protect patients during information sharing between healthcare systems, and payers, these regulations combined with the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship has had the broader implication that an individual’s medical status should be shared only with those who have received permission from the patient.
As the media camps out for photos of the new royal baby in London, we are reminded that all women, famous and non famous, deserve privacy during labor, delivery and the postpartum period.