Can a hospital share information with my family without my authorization?

A hospital or any health provider cannot share your information with your family without your consent. However, in a case when you are unable to make decisions for yourself (such as a comatose state or one of altered mental status), they then can share information in order to provide you the best possible care and to learn your wishes on how to care for you. 
Hospitals can share information with family members without your authorization if you are unable to consent and a family member (such as spouse, parent or child) is involved in providing your care. 

For example, your spouse or child may be involved in caring for you following a hospital stay (by helping you in and out of bed, to bathe, changing bandages and similar activities). You can simplify things at the time you are admitted to the hospital (or nursing home) by specifying which family member you want to receive information about you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.