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Avatar universal

Illegal telling people about Hep C person

Is it illegal to tell people that someone you know has hepatitus c and is snorting cocaine with them? I am not the one, but I am related to the one who has Hep C and I know for a fact that he is doing cocaine with certain people. I live in the state of Illinois. I know he has not told them, but I am not sure if I am able to tell them. I do not want other people being hurt, and I do not want to be in trouble with the law either. I happen to care for one of the people whom he is doing cocaine with. Please help me.
26 Responses
179856 tn?1333550962
I don't know if it is illegal but it's certainly immoral for them to knowingly put others at risk.  I did get hepC 25 years ago this way. We didn't know then that it could happen and I always thought if I wasn't putting needles in my arm I was fine. Of course I didn't realize then that that behavior is WHAT leads to needles and IV drug use or anything...........

I don't know if it's true and you say something whether you can be sued for it or not.  AT least tell that person to use their own snorting equipment and not to share that or something.

Avatar universal
At least tell you friends that HCV can be passed on a coke straw, and that you are specifically concerned about them on this account.  This lets them draw their own conclusions and does not involve divulging confidential (or protected) medical information about your relative.  

Re getting sued:  I practice in NY, not admitted to the Illinois bar, but here's some general info.

Generally truth is a defense to defamation, but medical information enjoys some extra protection.  It depends who you are (medical professional? layperson?) and how you got the information (learned it from confidential, HIPPA protected medical records?  heard it on the family grapevine?  told by the patient?)

Warn your friends about the risk without naming names and you should be ok.  You are doing a good thing.
Avatar universal
If your cousin told you that he has hep c, and as long as he is not a patient of yours, I just don't see how it could get you in trouble. Medical people sign Hippa, but our relatives and friends don't sign anything when we tell them we have hcv.

He might get shot dead by the ones he shared with when they find out he knew he was infected, but then again your cousins little cocain circle might just have a geno 1, 2 ,3 and 4. So they all will give a gift to one another and then nobody can be mad at anybody:)

372366 tn?1284407473
Your relative obviously does not respect the life of others, hope you do the right thing.

338734 tn?1377163768
How about confronting your relative with the situation and demand that he tell his friends or you will? I realize this head-on approach would require a lot of cajones (for lack of better metaphor). At least that way you are dealing straight up with everyone. But don't do something stupid or dangerous. I don't know the people involved or their capabilities. Lives are at stake here.

I have to agree with Harry about your relative's lack of respect for others.

You obviously want to do the right thing. More power to you and best of luck.
Avatar universal
Is there not some culpability for a person who KNOWS other people are being put at risk and says nothing/does nothing about it?  I mean from a legal perspective.  And if one of those persons finds out that someone else knew their life was being put at risk and said nothing...is THAT not cause for legal action?  Moral implications aside.  I'm just asking about the legal implications of such a thing.

I like Walrus's suggestion.  That works in a variety of situations..."either you tell them or I will".   It gives them the wake-up call to be a stand-up person and then warns them what'll happen if they're not.
Avatar universal
Your situation is a tough one.  At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself, right? And put yourself in THEIR shoes and how you would feel if someone else was there knowing what YOU know and let you be at risk and said nothing.  At the end of the day..it's who you see in the mirror that you live with and only you can answer what decision that person can live with.  I can tell you what I would do, I can tell you what I think you SHOULD do...which is make sure this gets disclosed or that he starts conducting his activities in a safe manner...but in the end, you gotta do what's right with your soul.

Good luck to you.  
Avatar universal
Under the facts given here, Me2also has no duty to warn anybody of her relative's HCV status.  If a special relationship existed among the parties (eg Me2also was the relative's physician or Me2also was the guardian of the third party placed at risk) this would change the analysis.We cannot be lawfully compelled to inform on others (thank God) and our confidential medical information enjoys some protection from dissemination at large (again, thank God).  Further, people who engage in illicit activity such as snorting cocaine assume the risk of any consequences of that illicit activity.  

Restatement (Second) of Torts S 315 states as follows: There is no duty so to control the conduct of a third person as to prevent him from causing physical harm to another unless (a) a special relation exists between the actor and the third person which imposes a duty upon the actor to control the third person's conduct, or (b) a special relation exists between the actor and the other which gives to the other a right to protection.

Avatar universal
Hello Me2 ~ Happy New Year!
Another way too get the point across too the individuals doing this with the person that is infected with hep c is too educate them. MAYBE they don't know how hepatitis can be transmitted, and then tell them using other peoples, straws, razors, toothbrush's, syringes, cotton, etc can transmit the disease and remind them that diseases don't discriminate and there isnt a "look" that one can see too see if a person has hepatitis.
Good luck!
365132 tn?1202965556
I say tell them...
372366 tn?1284407473
WOW ,THE ANALYSIS... who are you trying to fool. Some one is knowingly infecting people with a fatal disease and you site legal **** in defence of harming the infectors feelings.
Hope you never fall out of my boat, cause den i'd hav ta analyze de situation before throwing you the life jacket or tell you that it's your falt you are here so I should sherk my responsibilities as a human and let you drown yourself. GET A GRIP MAN

Hey lets go fishin next week I'll come and pick you up.

Avatar universal
Down, Harry.  Trish ASKED for a legal analysis.
Avatar universal
I ASKED how the LAW looks at this, simply because I wanted to KNOW.  SHE.. not HE.. answered my question.  Got a little problem with people knowing FACTS, Harry?  I didn't ask so that I could have a legal precedent to support people not being informed.  In fact if you read the thread instead of spouting off like an freaking idiot and threatening bodily harm to another human being yourself, then you'd see that it was purely an academic question and that all of us are rather alarmed at the potential harm to other human beings that this situation poses.

Nobody's asking  you, or me, to like what the law says.  I simply asked what DOES it say.

Quit acting like an effing moron.

372366 tn?1284407473
In Canada knowingly infecting others gets you jail time. Don't know about enablers.

Avatar universal
I don't know either and I'm in Canada same as you. I know people have been sued successfully here for not making sure that people who were at their house parties didn't drive home drunk.  It's not quite the same thing but along the same lines of being responsible for another person's behaviour.  Perhaps that's considered a "special relationship" if you're the person hosting the party.  Anyway.. my question is my own curiosity, so I'll just have to sort it out for myself.
264121 tn?1313033056
me2 has, actually, a valid concern.  Dependent upon where you live, there are possible torts that can be brought against third parties for violating privacy laws.  A lot would probably depend on the following:

1) your relationship to the party ( i take it yours is a familial and not professional relationship
2) how you came to know the info (in this case, the party apparently informed you of his or her status?)
3. Whether or not you could prove the info in court (even a tape recording of the person admitting to you would work in many states, but you have to take care about the recording laws (wiretap laws) in your state.

In many libel (or slander) can't remember which it is when the person isn't a public person, suits, or suits alleging interference with privacy or the ability to work, the defendant has to be able to prove only that what you were saying is true.  This gets to be dicey though when or if you can't prove that it's true and there is no ability to get confidential medical info in order to do so (judges can be very unwilling to order confidential medical info to be released).

This would be a much easier question issue perhaps if HCV shared (and you'd think it would) the relative importance given to syphillis where it would be mandatory to report it to the health dept upon a positive test and for the health dept to notify all all potential at risk individuals exposed to the virus by the individual reporting positive.

In the end, you have to look at your own conscience.  I would probably tell in a New York minute if the problem behavior was known by me to be ongoing.  Because it is SO irresponsible to knowingly put others at risk with this disease.

Also keep in mind that people don't really hire attorneys and take these things to court that often in retaliation (especially people who are so ill put together that they're snorting coke all the time) although sometimes they can make a lot of noise about doing so.  People who are really going to sue you tend not to make any noise about it at all.  They just do it.
250084 tn?1303311035

  I haven't read thru all the post ...but 'gossip' is EVERYWHERE! I am sure that each of us has someone at work, social life, family, friends...out there....that at some time has said 'pssst, you know he/she has Hep C'. I got the infamous 'slight touch distant hug' from one at Christmas.

  'Spread the gossip' if you have to! (never thought I'd find a good use for gossip!) Tell the one you 'care about', it'll get around. Unless one is liable per the HIPA laws, which your not his nurse, Dr. etc, than there has never been one I know of that went to jail for gossip. In other words...as they come with difficulty right now :}.......these situations aren't a matter of legality, there a matter of morality. Even if you 'talked' to your family member...he already knows what he's doing and doesn't give a dam! The sad truth is, on drugs/coke he probably won't and the ones doing it with him probably won't pass up a line because it's the only straw even if they know!!
  I do believe in USA you can be prosecuted for knowingly risking another life in that way. Than again.... how serious will the law take it if it's a bunch of 'coke heads' (you get my drift.)
  IMO....if you can't sleep at night over something, your not doing what you feel is right.

Another thought for the mix here.....those sitting there doing the coke, spreading the Hep C go home to spouse's, kids and family......sharing their razors or tooth brush. The question of 'will I get in trouble' doesn't even compare to the question of 'could I have stopped this' if your friend or his family come up with Hep C next year.

And honestly, how much respect does that family member deserve doing what he's doing?

  Just my take on it :}                                                          LL
372366 tn?1284407473
Sorry but this topic gets me going.I was infected by my brother that used my diabetic needles and then put them back, my parents knew he had this disease and didnot let the other family members know.For years I suffered from hep c without a clue, on my brothers death bed he confessed to his using my needles. POW

Avatar universal
Wow Harry, that sucks!  Don't get me wrong, I believe anybody who knowingly spreads this plague should roast in the hottest part of hell after a long life of torture that almost (but not quite) kills him/her.

250084 tn?1303311035

  Ouch, now thats a rough truth to learn! Sorry.                    
228686 tn?1211558307
The only concern legally is if you can PROVE the statement. If not, it opens you up to libel and slander. You'd have to have more than just your word against his, or hearsay testimony.
250084 tn?1303311035
  Yes, true, but what's the chances a guy with a coke problem and no sense of decency will sue?

(looking back on that comment....hope you don't have a lot of money/assets me2also :}
365132 tn?1202965556
What is the chances of him suing?  I can see him already figurng out how many eight balls he could buy with the settlement!!!  lol.  I crack me up sometimes....
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your input. The person in question happens to be my soon to be ex husband. :o(  He has been seeing a girl for about 2 years now and still trying to get me to come back to him.) He was told he had hep c in August last year. He told me that his doctor wanted to talk to me and have me take a blood test also (I came out clean) My ex has a drinking and drug problem, which is why we seperated in the first place. I told him I would stand by him a long time ago if he would get help, but he says he does not have a problem. He was very verbally abusive and violent (gratefully not violent with me, just verbally abusive) when he did the stuff because I would not do it with him. I am afraid if I tell the girl he is seeing (and snorting, drinking & sleeping with) he will think that it is in retailiation. Again, thank you all for your input.  
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