Across the world and in about 12 countries in particular families and loved ones are reeling from the tragic dealth of 150 people; these include nuclear families, international opera stars, 16 school children and many others. Each person on that doomed flight has left behind those who are now mourning their loss. The rest of us ask — could this have been prevented and if so how? Of course, the authorities directly involved must explore every avenue on how to prevent such tradegies in the future. The March 27, 2015 New York Times present some startling and disturbing news about the co-pilot of the flight; this news was gained through the recordings found through the plane’s black box recordings. Computers and other documents have been recovered from the apartment of the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz. The doctor’s note said he was not supposed to be working on that day. The question is — did the doctor have a responsibility to inform the airlines? You can read more about that here: Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Apparently Tore Up Doctor’s Note for Day of Crash
It is important that when we go to medical providers we feel secure in the knowledge that the information we share is kept confidential. It is important that medical conditions not be used against us in ways that affect our ability to earn a living or live our lives in peace and security. For these and other reasons HIPPA: United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is very important and should be adhered to. However, whereas the Act was basically ignored or only casually honored by some for many years, recently its adherence, in many instances, has become a mountain that serves more as a stumbling-block to sensible health care administration, than a tool of law and good commonsense. Questions as simple as – Can you tell me if my son, John Jones, has been admitted to the hospital today?– are met with, I am sorry, you have to go to administration; we cannot give out information about patients. There is a difference between: can you tell me why my son, John Jones was admitted to the hospital and was my son admitted to the hospital. Some health care workers use HIPPA as a blanket denial for any information at all, thereby creating anguish and antagonism. Read more about HIPPA here: HIPAA definition – MedicineNet – Health and Medical.
Health care privacy is very important in America and in other developed countries. However, should one’s individual health care privacy always supersede the health, well-being and safety of others? If so, when and how should that happen? Should a pilot who is psychologically ill be able to hide his medical condition that later resulted in the murder of 149 others? Where does his right to privacy ends and the right of an airline to safeguard the lives of others begin? We learned in the New York times today that: “Co-Pilot in Germanwings Crash Hid Medical Condition From Employer, Prosecutors Say.”
“He was 100 percent flightworthy without any limitations,” Mr. Spohr said. The doctor’s note indicated otherwise, but how would anyone know?
“But he said there had been an instance six years ago when Mr. Lubitz took a break from his training for several months. He said that if the reason was medical, German rules on privacy prevented the sharing of such information. Mr. Spohr said the revelation of Mr. Lubitz’s actions had left him stunned.” In this case, if the doctors believed that a part of Mr. Lutz’s condition could lead to a psychological breakdown while flying an airplane, should they be required to inform Lufthansa or Germanwings? Isn’t there a difference here that requires that employers or loved ones be warned about the safety of or the danger to others?
“Some international airlines responded to the crash by introducing new rules requiring that two crew members always be present in the cockpit, after the French prosecutor revealed that Mr. Lubitz had locked the plane’s pilot out of the cockpit before starting the deadly descent. The airlines that said they were instituting a two-person rule in the cockpit included Air Canada, easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle. All German airlines will introduce that requirement, the German aviation association said on Friday.
Thomas Winkelmann, the head of Germanwings, however, expressed doubt that such a rule would have prevented Tuesday’s crash.” The fact is – Lufthansa’s Germanwings did not have the information. How many other employees who hold the safety of others in their hands are also powder kegs waiting to explode? When, where and how should individual rights be protected while also protecting the rights and safety of others? How do we decide? When the employee is not forthcoming with this important information, who has the responsibility to do so? How do we accurately balance and protect individual rights and the protection of others?” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/world/europe/germanwings-crash-andreas-lubitz.html? There are times when public safety and well-being MUST supersede individual rights. Deciding exactly when are the correct times, how it will be done and by whom seem to be the larger questions. The links below take readers to various articles with some relevant questions; starting with the Edward Snowden leaks. Was Edward Snowden justified in putting the national safety of the USA at risk, regardless of how well-intended his motives were? The Balancing Act of Individual Rights and Public Safety … www.blscourierherald.com/opinion/212392551.html –
Ebola Scare Poses Dilemma: Civil Rights Versus Public Safety http://www.pressherald.com/2014/10/29/rights-versus-safety-in-ebola-cases-protecting-public-health-sometimes-tramples-on-an-individuals-liberties/
Balancing gun rights with public safety – The Washington Post www.washingtonpost.com/…/balancing…rights…pu..
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