The wrong mobile number
Mrs B, a 44-year-old management consultant, attended Dr S’s emergency surgery asking for a sexual health check. She admitted that she had been having an affair with a colleague. The affair was now over and she believed she may be at risk of chlamydia.
She told Dr S that her relationship with her husband was currently very strained. She did not want her husband to know that she had attended the surgery.
Dr S carried out a speculum examination to obtain swabs. Mrs B asked Dr S to text her the results of the tests as she was going to be traveling on business for the next ten days and didn’t want a letter sent or a message left on the house phone. Dr S looked on the screen to check that she had a mobile number for the patient and agreed to her request.
Three days later the result came back that Mrs B was positive for chlamydia. Dr S sent a message to Mrs B which read “Test positive: please contact surgery”. One hour later an irate Mr B was at the desk, stating that he had received the message on his mobile phone.
Dr S apologised that the text was sent in error, but gave no further details. Mr B had had a recent hypertension review with the practice nurse and had asked her to update his mobile number. The nurse was new to the practice and inadvertently accepted the computer’s prompt to update all the household members’ contact details with the new mobile number.
Later that day a distraught Mrs B telephoned Dr S. Her husband had contacted her and she had admitted the affair to him. She subsequently made a written complaint to the practice that her confidentiality had been breached by text.