Should you find yourself in a Hospital Emergency Room after a traffic accident and the Hospital staff wants to draw your blood, you had better tell them NO and here is why.
This week the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals again took the position that the Government’s interest outweighs the privacy interest of our citizens. In Texas v. Huse the High Court affirmed the use of Grand Jury Subpoenas to allow the Government to get your medical records. To get one of these Subpoenas, there is no Judges signature required, no presentation to a court showing good cause, or even presenting anything to a Grand Jury. All the Government has to do is convince an Assistant District Attorney to issue the subpoena for your medical records. There are no safe guards to protect your medical information from the government or telling them what they can or cannot do with it once they have it. Admittedly the most common use of these records are for obtaining evidence in criminal prosecutions such as assault and DWI.
So imagine that you are involved in a traffic accident. You may or may not have been injured, but your are transported to a Hospital Emergency Room. At the Hospital they want to take your blood and you have been drinking or using drugs that you do not have a prescription for or taken too many. If you allow the Hospital to take your blood, the police can get all of your medical records including the blood test just by getting an Assistant District Attorney to issue a Grand Jury Subpoena. All of those records can be used against you in a criminal trial. Now the police have your medical records which may include things further back in your past or other issues tht you wanted to keep private such as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, mental illness, all your medications, prior injuries, illnesses or medical procedures. That includes cosmetic procedures like enlargement or reduction of certain body parts. All the private things that you wanted to keep private is now in the hands of the police.
Other issues arise and I will confess that I was guilty of this when I was a police officer. The doctors are only allowed to draw the blood in the case of a medical necessity. Yet frequently as police officers we would ask the hospital staff to do a blood draw for a toxicology screen. Seldom did a Doctor or Nurse ever tell us NO. Good luck ever getting a Doctor or Nurse to admit this on the witness stand. Those medical licenses are just too valuable to make an admission like that.
Now these Black Robed Politicians in Austin just opened the door for Law Enforcement to access anyone’s medical records, anytime the want, for any reason, without notice to you. While this Court was focusing on helping the Police in DWI Prosecutions, they actually kicked the door wide open to ALL of your medical history with ABSOLUTELY NO SAFE GUARDS IN PLACE for abuse of these records. Again, political considerations over common sense. But that is what the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is known for. My reading of the High Court’s opinion in Texas v. Huse showed the Judges bending and ignoring a lot of rules and laws to reach this conclusion, but then again, they are known for this too.
Remember, if you are in an emergency room and they want to take your blood after any traffic accident you NOW always tell them NO. This court has left you with a choice of receiving medical treatment and being criminally prosecuted or not receiving medical treatment. Some choice. You always have the right to tell the Doctor or Nurse NO YOU ARE NOT TAKING MY BLOOD.