Are your hospitals records private in Oregon?

Posted by Neil P. Halttunen | Sep 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Under ORS 676.260 if you are in a car crash, and the hospital that treats you finds alcohol, cannabis, or another controlled substance in your blood that hospital is required to notify law enforcement even if you are not drunk or high. This statute is susceptible to a challenge because it allows a search of blood without a warrant or even any suspicion that a crime has occurred. Under the federal constitution this statute would be allows to stand under what is called the third party doctrine which is a judge created rule that basically says that if your blood results are stored by a third party (hospital) then you have waived your right to privacy. In Oregon there have been some recent court cases that have strengthened Oregonians right to privacy. In a case called Lien/Wilverding, the Oregon Supreme Court analyzed a garbage collection case and overruled previous cases that stood for the proposition that when a person relinquished control of their privacy right to a third party such relinquishment extinguished any right to privacy. In essence, the Lien/Wilverding court may have paved the way for a constitutional challenge to this law. We will have to wait for the right test case to weave its way through the appellate courts.

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