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I always assumed if I emailed my Sis about issues caregiving for my parents, it was my private email to Sis. However, Sis (who has POA) has forwarded my emails to parents attorney.....and how the attorney is trying to twist things around to mean something I never said.

I always prefer to email, and will follow up a phone call with an email, just to keep track of what was said (and how it was received, and any actionables).

I am so sick of the bickering going on between my older Sister and I. But this really has hit new heights.

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To PrettyGood - So sad, that "bickering" is the word of the day in your life with sis.... but even with those I think should know to keep confidences... I always emphasize at the end of a conversation..."Keep this to yourself, please" ... when you state it...they remember that.... otherwise..., like Moondance said: the spoken word is like air... the written word is always there, and at the mercy of some lawyers who want to make their money by twisting words and drag out their hourly fee time... Whether it's legal or not in your state... the deed is done... maybe you can give your sis + that lawyer a clarified version of what you really meant, and inform them that you sent copies of all to your lawyer as well, {they won't know whether you did or not} - yet you would prefer that "Reason Prevail" to stop the nonsense of twisting your words... I think you do need to clarify, throw the ball back into their court and not just sit there as "bad" one... Wish you well !!
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I prefer to send a copies to myself using the "BCC" to my email in yahoo, gmail and aol. With the BCC (instead of the CC), the one receiving the email will Not know that you're sending it to yourself. Unless you want them to know. My family's email is yahoo. Online orders is aol. And gmail -is for work. I send copies to aol and gmail because several times I got locked out in yahoo. It wouldn't accept my password.
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Send yourself a copy of each email in the cc: under the send to area & file it in a folder.....works for me.
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Pretty good. Excellent question! I have numerous emails that I do not want to print either. The only way I know to save them is to create a folder then move the emails you want to keep there.

I am going to google downloading email to thumb drive.
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I have taken to adding a "disclaimer" to my emails and I don't put it in fine print, it's in regular size print, and I now BCC myself everything. I only need to figure out how to save the emails off the email server or whatever. I'd rather not print them all out.
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....the spoken word is like the air, the written word is always there...
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Just to clarify, the one party rule, as in New York State, means you can record a conversation, such as on the phone, if you are one of the parties having the conversation, and you don't have to tell anyone beforehand or have their permission or consent. Before you record, check if your state has this rule or not, as there can be serious consequences otherwise.
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The bill was for the entire prescription, no break there.

The main point being had anyone else given the medication they would have dispensed per instruction on the bottle, as if it contained 25 mg tablets.
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This is a bit ...??????? Hmmmm - - if you cut 25 in half you have 12.5 mg.... so what was the increase to...?? 25mg ??.. You did not say ???... O.k. I assume she was increased to 25 mg, and by ordering 50mg tablets you can save money, lots of folks do that... it saves the Insurance also money, if they were a copay medication... as U can cut those in half and have 15 tabs last 30 days.... If the Pharm. made a mistake and gave you 90 tabs for 180 days worth supply of meds... why did you not just put the overflow in the fridge, and keep 30 at room temp. and use 1/2 tab / day { if they were to be taken once a day} for 60 days.... If the price was that high...you should have said "" thankyou God !!! I'll accept the present this time..."" however, since you got 180 days worth supply... you would also not have had to re-order for 180 days... thereby would not have stolen a thing... I do not understand that there was any problem except it would have saved you a few trips to the drugstore...???
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On frightening prescription errors. Well, POA sis set up billing from Mom's pharmacy at the grocery store. We had just increased mom's Seroquel dosage and cutting those little 25 mg tablets is a bit difficult. So the doc was to call in 50 mg tablets, which they did, but in the same number of pills as if it was the 25 mg tablets, with the 25 mg instructions on the label. So upon administering the medication, if anybody other than me had done it, they would have given Mom twice her normal dosage. Then somehow the pharmacy screwed it up again and dispensed three times what should have been prescribed!

So, combination of error between the doc and the pharmacy could have been very dangerous, even deadly for my Mom. If nothing else, you would think that the pharmacy would have noticed that something was just not right, called the doc to check on it? But evidently not. At least they took the prescription back and then had to dispose of over $1,000.00 worth of medication. It was a 90 day supply.
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All good ideas, I actually have started printed copies and a 3-ring binder and tabbies....I'm sort of old school.
I am not able to describe the actual issue at hand, only that it involves those pesky checks that my Sis writes to herself.
I am not saying that actual WORK for my parents should not be reimbursed; however the things that Sis does are very suspect.....and it's a whole lot different to drive thru a snowstorm to pick up parents, shovel their sidewalk, usher them out (making sure they're all bundled up), drive thru all the ice, and get them on time for a Doc appointment, sit there for an hour while the Doc catches up to you, take notes on the new medications, usher them back out to the now snow-covered car (don't slip & fall), drive, go pick up the prescription, get them back home safely, fix them a late lunch, clean up the kitchen, pick up their mail, take out their garbage, check the mousetraps, and get home before a client is scheduled to meet regarding their $2,000 contract with me (yes I do have a JOB besides my parents). ....I'm just remember one morning into afternoon this past winter.
What does my Sis actually "do" for parents? She picks up the phone in her posh office and calls the investment advisor, shoots the breeze, and says "yeah that might be a good idea." and hangs up the phone.
And GUESS WHO is writing themselves a check for WORK for parents?
Not ME.
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We've already seen that at the hospital we go to. All the participating doctors can pull up ER, admission and other doctor's records. It's worked out well because my father's doctors just pull up a chest x-ray taken at the ER, read it and don't have to wait for a report to come in.

Even though someone has made mistakes that have not been corrected, despite my discussing those issues, generally it's worked out well for us.

What I object to is digitized records that are available to other than our selected doctors. I don't have a lot of confidence they'll be protected, and I'm not comfortable that HIPAA even offers any protection when records are shared across a wide database. And given that we're not traveling, there's no reason why anyone outside of our SELECTED doctors should have access to our records.

It's taken a long time to assemble a team with which we're comfortable, and that generally goes along with our request for minimal medication. If we do need another doctor, it'll be a referral from someone who shares our philosophy; I don't want anyone who pull out his prescription pad and starts writing scripts for more meds.
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I, on the other hand, like the digital data.... I like how one doctor can send today's appointment info including blood test results automatically over to my primary doctor, thus eliminated the need to take identically blood tests when I visit my primary doctor. Or if I need to go to the ER and I can't remember what meds I am taking, the ER can pull that info from my primary doctor's files all via laptop.

But on the other hand, I can understand the privacy issue. But there isn't anything in my records that would be bothersome to anyone else. Now a days no one can be denied health insurance because of their medical history :)
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So he made an error in typing and scripted for the wrong dose? That's really scary, and I mean REALLY scary.
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I hate this digital data for my medical history. 2 years ago, my doctor prescribed for the first time to me Lipitor 40mg for an overall cholest of 249H (Trig 64, HDL 65, LDL 171). I asked him repeatedly to start me off with the lowest dosage possible. I told him that for my body, 1 Nyquil is enough to knock me out and still be in Lala land at 9am the next morning. That 1 Tylenol is enough to ease my headaches. He Refused. So, I tried taking that it - for a month. Terrible terrible headaches (didn't feel like the headaches that I usually get) all day, all night. Wake up with it, go to sleep with it. I gave up after a month. On my next 6month visit, I admitted why I wasn't taking the pills. He looked into the computer chart and said that he did not prescribe 40mg but 20mg. Because I insisted and refused to back down, h e then turned to the Paper chart. He kept backtracking until the date. I heard him gasp. He did NOT admit that he prescribed 40mg. So, it's scary how the paper document did not match the online document. Now, when I go, he rarely even writes anything on paper. As I talk about my symptoms, he's there typing the info on the computer. Scary, huh? No more paper trail.
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Veronica, that is one of the most invasive and to me irresponsible aspects of legislation that was enacted. It really upsets me that this meddling and probably unworkable mandate is lurking on the horizon.

I also don't believe that the federal government by and through any of its branches has the right to override treatment of medical information by hospitals or to make that information available digitally. Not that my opinion matters much in this case...

So much family information is already available far a price through various search sites, and unfortunately some of it's wrong. I've encountered errors in my father's and my records just with the doctors and hospitals with which we've treated. Imagine what will happen when wrong information is shared with another hospital or doctor who doesn't know the patient, AND doesn't contact the treating physician before undertaking his/her own treatment.

Guess we'll have to start carrying a flash drive that says "read this before you treat me!" I do carry Dad's medical records and sometimes mine, but how do we know a medical practitioner would read them as opposed to going online to get them?

If you've ever used some of these search engines that purport to find people and link them to relatives, you'll know that some of this information is highly inaccurate. One time I checked our family and found a site which reflected my mother's address as my sister's. There were only 2 doctors and 1 hospital for which that address was used; all other times my mother's home address was used.

I keep asking myself how that information could have been released without our authority to an online search site?

Now that same hospital has sent solicitations to my sister who's been dead for 11 years inviting her to cancer screenings and other so-called information presentations. Apparently they haven't figured out yet that though she was treated there, she didn't survive. Duh...
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Forget about medical confidentiality.
I have heard that by next year all medical records have to be digitalized and all networks have to be connected.
Nurses may refuse to discuss a patients condition with their family if the patient refuses but imagine who else can go on a fishing expedition.
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When it comes to the law, a lot of stuff is not illegal. You send an email to sis. That email now belongs to her. She can share it with a friend or anyone else. That's her prerogative. Even more so, to her lawyer. It's now evidence against you. So find all her email to you and yours to her. As I've seen on those real court trials, lawyers from both sides have this nasty habbit of choosing certain sentences to make you look guilty. As one can see lately, nothing is private or confidential when at trial... not text messages, not email, not voice messages, not letters.

Best advice is to not put anything in writing or in YouTube that can bite you from behind. Even before I started the first day of therapy, I had to sign a document acknowledging confidentiality and yet permitting the therapist to disclose what was discussed to a third party. After I signed it, I was very careful of what I said in therapy. So never assumed what you discuss with your therapist cannot be reported to the police or anyone else.

FYI, I thought flashdrive was a great place to store data. Then one day, I inserted it in the computer. It was corrupted. Now at work, I download our document also on the CD.
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Just thought about why confidentiality statements may not be enforceable. The recipient hasn't signed anything saying he agrees to abide by the rule.
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We can put confidentiality clauses in emails, but I don't know how enforceable they are. Like the instructions about the email if sent to the wrong person -- what would be done if the unintended recipient had decided to forward it all over the world? After all, he had not solicited the email. I don't know if there is any law governing penalties for disclosure of email contents, even if a confidentiality statement is included.

I think the old saying holds true: "Never put anything in email that you wouldn't say publicly."
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For saving important e-mails, I am old school, I print them out and put them into a notebook.... I won't save them on-line.

If I need an old email to be sent to someone, I scan it and attach it to the new outgoing email.
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Maggie, I wasn't aware that one-party consents existed in some states. I thought that recording issues were federal laws which pre-empt state laws. Interesting.

Flyer, thanks for finding the confidential statement language.

PG and others, I was thinking over this issue while driving home from Dad's today and thought of some other ancillary issues to throw out for discussion.

1. Does the sender of an e-mail have an expectation of privacy when it's sent? If so, if the recipient shares those e-mails with another party, including an attorney, is that a breach of the privacy expectation and is it actionable?

2. "Privilege" in terms of confidentiality attaches to communications with attorneys, medical personnel and priests. Does it apply to personal e-mails?

I'd be interested in hearing about anyone's experience with these issues.

I'm also going to do some research on this issue; it's very unsettling and could open a lot of doors that should remain closed between siblings in contention over caregiving issues.


PG, some further thoughts on saving e-mails, and I don't want to seem to be dismissing anyone else's suggestions - just something of which I was reminded in terms of a family situation.

I save all e-mails with family and attorneys; I always have. But even though they're backed up on DVDs, they're kept on my hard drive.

PG, you might want to save your e-mails with your sister to a flash drive or other offline storage. I don't know if there's a likelihood your sister might be aggressive enough to initiate litigation (as another poster described a few days ago), but if so she could ask for a subpoena duces tecum for data, including all electronic communications re your parent. Whether such a subpoena could override privilege attaching to any communications between you and your attorney is a question I can't answer.

But if you've written to anyone else about problems with your sister, a subpoena could be written in broad enough terms to include those e-mails.

As an example, when a relative was having serious problems with her sister, we e-mailed back and forth about those issues and how to address them. I told her, as I did myself, to save them to an offline storage medium. I also password protected all my e-mails and called the password to her so there was no written record in our e-mails.

Any subpoena could however include off-line storage media, but I don't know how it could be proven or disproven that such media existed.

I'm glad you posted this; it raises some issues that I think anyone with contentious siblings needs to consider. But I am sorry for the grief it's causing you. Your sister must really be aggressive.
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I found a sample of a Statement of Confidentiality..... "The contents of this e-mail message and any attachments are confidential and are intended solely for addressee. The information may also be legally privileged. This transmission is sent in trust, for the sole purpose of delivery to the intended recipient. If you have received this transmission in error, any use, reproduction or dissemination of this transmission is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please immediately notify the sender by reply e-mail or phone and delete this message and its attachments, if any."
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GardenArtist, there are one-party consent states and two-party consents re recording conversations.
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Jessie, just to clarify, it's my understanding that recorded phone calls are not legal unless the party taping the call first notifies the other party that the conversation will be recorded. I don't have a federal statutory cite right now but might be able to look it up later if my garden doesn't command my attention first.

For PG and others, though, there might be a way to at least protect e-mails through the addition of such a provision as those added by companies and attorneys.

It's a notice that the communication is intended only for the recipient and no one else, a sort of "eyes only" notice. I've just quickly searched but can't find the specific wording so I'll have to look it up later.

Another option for retrieving old e-mails: contact your ISP; e-mails that come through your Internet Service Prodider may be subject to retention statutes that require keeping them for a given amount of time. I'm not sure on this so I'd have to check it out.

But ISPs do have to maintain certain records for purposes of the federal government, so it's possible that your e-mails that were received and sent are stored somewhere on their servers. Whether they would provide them, given the effort involved, might be another story.
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emails are considered official correspondences, so can be shared with whoever the receiver wants to share them. The same is true with text messages. In some states, taped telephone calls can also be shared, since only one party has to know the call is being recorded. There is a rule of internet netiquette that emails are not talked about to others online. The rule is not legally enforceable, though I don't like it when someone talks publicly about a message sent privately.

You can't retract words once spoken or written. The only way to defend them is to surround them by their context. bookluvr's advice is an excellent way to do that. If you have a service like gmail you can sign in and forward to yourself all of the mail received and sent that you feel is relevant. Then you can stash all that email in a folder on your email program in case you need it. Excellent advice, bookluvr.
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Say it, forget it.

Write it, regret it.

Emails are not private.
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Well, I'd go back to my email, click on the SEND, and all your sent emails to sis, I would automatically transfer it to a FILE. Because for some email providers, your sent emails get deleted after a certain time limit. I do this all the time when I used to send update emails to my siblings when my mom was alive. I am amazed when I re-read my emails how my emotions fluctuated so much - bitter, anger, etc... And some were so very depressing emails. Some of these emails, I just cannot read - too much bad memories. But - it's there in my file if I ever need to read it. I strongly suggest you do the same. File with a title like: Dad Updates

If you deleted your sister's email to you, you may still have a copy of her email to you - IF you REPLIED to her email. If you still have your SENT reply email to sis, then I would also set up Another File, maybe titled, SIS Email.
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Just like a letter, an email can be shared by the person who receives it.

What is the attorney trying to do regarding you?
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Yes she can use your emails as evidence. Are there any of hers that you can also use? Do you have an attorney? You may want to consult with a geriatric care manager to do an assessment of your Mom. In my own situation, very very ugly with siblings, document document document! Good luck!
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