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Patient Accused of HIPAA Violation, Threatened With Jail for TikTok Posts

A confrontation between hospital staff and a patient over wait times and patient rights was documented in a series of viral TikTok videos, according to a local news report.

Denise Bradley, a patient at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan, was confronted by hospital security and a nurse after she was found to be recording an interaction between hospital staff and another patient, according to Detroit’s ABC News affiliate, WXYZ.

The encounter, which was documented in a series of TikTok videos by Bradley, first showed hospital employees interacting with a pregnant woman. The video shows the conversation escalate to the point when the hospital employee mentioned getting security involved in the situation. Another video shows a similar interaction with a physician as well. Bradley recorded all of these conversations and posted them to her TikTok account.

According to WXYZ, Bradley was awaiting treatment for complications related to an oral surgery when the initial interactions took place. She told WXYZ that she and the pregnant patient had been waiting for a long time together, and the pregnant patient claimed have already been waiting for 5 hours.

The next several videos show Bradley’s encounter with two hospital security guards and one of the nurses involved in the earlier interactions with the pregnant patient. The nurse approached Bradley a while after the earlier incident and asked her to come with him, according to WXYZ. Bradley told WXYZ that something didn’t feel right so she began recording again.

In those videos, Bradley can be heard saying she is recording for her own safety. The nurse responded that her “safety shouldn’t be on TikTok.” The nurse was also heard demanding that Bradley delete the videos because he did not give permission for her to record him. Bradley refused.

Then, one of the security guards approached Bradley and said, “You’re going to jail,” then “you’re breaking federal laws. It’s called HIPAA violations. You are forbidden to videotape other patients, period.”

The encounter continued until eventually Bradley was held in a room, which Bradley claimed was against her will. The video ended with her being escorted out of the room into the hospital hallway, when the video ends abruptly.

According to the CDC website, HIPAA, which refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, was designed to “address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information (known as protected health information or PHI) by entities subject to the Privacy Rule. These individuals and organizations are called ‘covered entities.'”

Those covered entities include healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and business associates, according to the CDC. The WXYZ report highlighted that individuals in Bradley’s situation are unlikely to be considered covered entities.

According to the WXYZ report, Bradley is considering filing a complaint with Dearborn police against the hospital security guards for allegedly assaulting her and for false imprisonment. She also told WXYZ that the Dearborn police officers, who eventually intervened in the situation, determined she had not broken any laws.

She also claimed that the hospital allowed her to leave but did not provide her discharge paperwork or a prescription she was told would be provided before the encounter with security.

A statement from Beaumont Health provided to MedPage Today said only that the hospital is currently looking into the incident, without any further details.

“Protecting the personal privacy and physical safety of all of our patients, visitors and staff are responsibilities we take seriously. We strive to treat everyone with compassion, dignity and respect, and we are currently reviewing the situation,” the Beaumont Health statement read.

Bradley has continued to post TikTok videos following up on the situation, including supposedly identifying the nurse who confronted her about her initial recordings. She has also asked her followers to help her gather information about the hospital employees involved in her encounter. Bradley has approximately 1.7 million TikTok followers, and most of the videos related to this incident have garnered more than 300,000 views.

  • Michael DePeau-Wilson is a reporter on MedPage Today‚Äôs enterprise & investigative team. He covers psychiatry, long covid, and infectious diseases, among other relevant U.S. clinical news. Follow

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