Response stories

Violation of patient’s rights: the story of an arrest in an Armenian hospital

Yegan (name changed) wrote to the National REActor about a disturbing situation that happened to his friend. The guy went to the Republican Hospital to take tests before his nose surgery. He is from a community of people who inject drugs (PWID) and while drawing blood, the nurse noticed a blackened vein on his arm. She immediately asked if he was using drugs and the guy, trusting the health worker, answered in the affirmative.

While the blood results were still pending, the patient was sitting in the hallway. Suddenly he was approached by two police officers who, twisting his arms, took him to the station. It turned out that a nurse had called the police and informed them that a man from the PWID community was in the hospital. Yegan said his friend had been arrested and for over ten days at the time of contacting REActors, no information on his condition and whereabouts had been given to him. The case has been accepted for work.

This story highlights the serious violations of patient rights and the unacceptable disclosure of personal medical information. That a nurse felt able to call the police based on a patient’s medical information is a blatant example of ethical and confidentiality violations. Trust in medical personnel is the basis for receiving quality care, and cases like this undermine that trust.

Egan’s friend’s situation also points to the need for reform in the way people who use drugs are treated. Instead of prosecution and arrest, they should be offered medical care and support. Violation of patients’ rights and undue interference of law enforcement agencies in medical issues require attention and solution at the state level.

Also read:

An assistance with recovery through OST in Azerbaijan

A story of harassment and humiliation in Armenia