Author Topic: Health Realted Issue  (Read 1956 times)

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MatthewShiner

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Health Realted Issue
« on: Jul 14, 2016, 01:40 pm »
A performer comes to you and tells you a health related issue . . . but asks you not to tell anyone else.

Besides encouraging them to tell others (director, producer, etc) - what else is there to do?
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Tempest

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #1 on: Jul 14, 2016, 03:07 pm »
I have this exact issue with my current show. I have written down the issue and put it in a sealed envelope, in the book, with "IN CASE OF MEDICAL EMERGENCY WITH JOE SHMOE, GIVE THIS INFORMATION TO PARAMEDICS," in big, friendly, highlighted letters. And I told my ASM, and eventual substitute stage manager, about the existence of the envelope.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

SMMeade

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #2 on: Jul 18, 2016, 09:33 pm »
Hypothetically, what kind of health related issue- one that might have an immediate effect performance (torn ACL) or more of a lurker (early cancer)?

KMC

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #3 on: Jul 19, 2016, 01:50 am »
If the performer could potentially miss periods of the rehearsal or show, or worse is putting himself or herself in danger, do you have an obligation to act:

1) To protect of the performer?
2) To insure continuity and viability of the production?
3) To insulate the theatre from liability?

Some, none, or all of the above?  An interesting ethical question.

« Last Edit: Jul 19, 2016, 01:52 am by KMC »
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maximillionx

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #4 on: Jul 19, 2016, 10:46 am »
I would approach it from a legal perspective....if something went down, would I/employer be in trouble for withholding that knowledge?

What Tempest mentioned seems like a personal health issue (HIV, diabetes, cancer...) that might not affect the execution of one's job. But, like KMC states, if you're putting yourself or others in danger by, for example, withholding you have a history of epileptic seizures due to strobe lights and the show is filled with strobe f/x....yea, about that...

I love being a confidant or psychologist for people if they need someone to talk or vent. But endanger me or the company and we have an issue.

I know I am as guilty of this too, and it's a hard line to walk. I don't want to tell people if I'm hurting because I'm supposed to appear indestructible and the hardest working person in the building. But as SM's, we're fallible and fragile humans and need to cut ourselves and others a break sometimes.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #5 on: Jul 19, 2016, 03:02 pm »
Listen, my education is, due to basic HIPPA laws, I can not tell anyone anyone's personal health issues.

If this is a workplace injury, yes, that can be shared - although treatment or non-treatment is not.

But other then that, it's a individually identifiable health information that needs to remain private - and all I can do is encourage the individual to share the information with all the interested parties themselves.

Think, I tell my company manager I have cancer, my company manager tells the Director, the Director then tells other people, and all of a sudden my career is tanked, because no one wants to hire a PSM who has cancer.  By telling other people, you might be putting yourself in a litigious situation.

But, I am wondering how far off center I am with these beliefs.

[I do not have Cancer]



Post Merge: Jul 19, 2016, 03:03 pm
Hypothetically . . .

HIV
Herpes
Chicken Pox
Pregnancy
Mononucleosis
Cancer
Strained Muscle

« Last Edit: Jul 19, 2016, 03:03 pm by MatthewShiner »
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SMAshlee

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #6 on: Jul 19, 2016, 08:04 pm »
If it's contagious (airborne/sharing objects), I will do everything I can to talk you into going home.

As for your hypotheticals, the only ones I'm really concerned about are the contagious ones, especially in close quarters like a dressing room. 
Mono - You better bring me a doctor's note that says you are no longer communicable or don't tell me about it.
Chicken Pox - See above.

If you aren't yourself or it seems like the condition you've told me about about in confidence is affecting your work performance, I will check in with you from time to time to encourage some sort of relief (telling the choreographer, taking a sick day, medical attention, etc). If you get my entire cast sick, I will hunt you down to reiterate the importance of taking care of yourself.

I guess I'm also a bit confused about your description of HIPPA. I am not a medical professional or deal with insurance/health records for HR or as a company manager for example, so I have not signed any sort of oath of confidence (for lack of a better term). However, if an actor comes to me and says, "I might have blahblahblah, don't tell anyone," I will respect their wishes after encouraging them to get medical attention and asking how I may assist them.

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ewharton

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #7 on: Jul 19, 2016, 11:24 pm »
HIPPA actually only applies to people in the medical field. So unless you are this person's doctor, nurse, etc. you aren't bound by HIPPA. Unfortunately the law is often misunderstood and this person may have thought this was covered but it isn't.
I do think you have to think about the context. There are some illness that except in rare cases don't pose a danger to anyone but should be told to a paramedic in case of an emergency (in your list above think cancer, strained muscle, pregnancy, herpes (unless there is bodily fluid exchange in which case you need back up blocking in case of an outbreak)). There are other diseases that pose a danger to the people around them and that can't be overlooked (think mono, chicken pox).

BayAreaSM

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Re: Health Realted Issue
« Reply #8 on: Jul 20, 2016, 03:26 am »
Speaking from a dance SM perspective...

1. Cancer - it depends on the kind. I worked with a dancer with breast cancer that turned into bone cancer. This is serious for someone who is dancing and causing major impact on joints/bones. Thankfully she shared the info with artistic staff so that choreography could be modified to work within her limitations. I also told her she had to tell our physical/massage therapists, as they need to modify the work they do on her body so as not to cause additional problems. Others have had "milder" forms of cancer that were eradicated with a few radiation treatments and they were right as rain in a few weeks. And for that, no one needed to know.

2. Strained Muscle - I have hidden this information from artistic staff before, as dancers don't want to risk not being cast. However, if the injury is due to work (and much more severe than strained), that's a completely different situation generally involving workers' comp. I have encouraged dancers to take it easy, rock tape body parts, get PT, and to be honest with artistic staff. Ballet dancers are trained from a young age to respect (and sometimes fear) the directors and teachers, so it's hard for them to be honest about issues that could limit their ability to perform.

3. Mono/Chicken Pox - As soon as I'm told, I tell them to stay home and that they cannot return to work without a note from their doctor. Dance is a highly interactive activity and any illness spreads quickly. I have to tell artistic staff why I told the dancer to stay home, but it doesn't go any further from there. As far as anyone else is concerned, the out dancer is "sick."

4. Herpes - About 50% of adults in the US have some form of Herpes. There may be people who have it and don't even know it. I think in this case, if someone has it and fails to disclose it, and is then cast to kiss someone else, the fault is on the infected person. If a performer tells you they have it, then it is your responsibility to make sure others are protected. While I have not experienced this situation, I would tell the performer to inform artistic to avoid any issues with spreading the virus - and warn them that if they don't, that I will inform them for the health of fellow cast members.

5. Pregnancy - I could see in the short term, this could be detrimental to an actress who is on a short contract. The AGMA dancers I work with have protections that allow them to be out for up to 1 year, and then they must be put back on contract (if they want to return). It's important for the costume shop and it's important for artistic to know any restrictions on their bodies. I've had 3 dancers get pregnant while on contract, and most wait until they've cleared the "danger zone" of pregnancy before going to artistic on their own. Though I am honored to be one of the first they tell, I do recommend they tell artistic ASAP so that they are aware and can make any casting adjustments necessary. I've had a choreographer create a role just for a dancer who was pregnant, so the choreography, character shoes and the costume were all accommodating of her changing body. And you could barely tell she was pregnant the way the costume was built. Worked like a charm. It can't be hidden for long, especially when performers are required to wear costumes built to their measurements.

6. HIV - I worked with someone who has HIV, and she made a point to tell me (PSM), union steward and the PM about her condition and what precautions should be taken if she gets cut/injured. She told us in confidence and there was no reason to take the information any further than who already knew. Generally her work was solo, without involving others during the run, and she was always cautious during load in and load out. The methods of spreading HIV are so specific, and as a technician, she wasn't going to be put in a situation to share any bodily fluids with anyone else. Granted, getting cut is always a concern, but the people who would be tending to someone who was injured already knew the situation, so I don't feel this had to told to anyone else.

Jumping to HIPAA - as a dance SM, I was in contact with our physical therapists, chiropractors and those treating our dancers for "first aid" treatments and sometimes workers' comp claims. It was a strange line to walk, as the doctors were torn as to what to tell me, as a member of management of the employing company. I would check in to make sure certain dancers were seeking treatment, if I already knew they were injured. It's been a while, but I remember one doctor telling me everything about the situation, and others being hesitant. Some would simply explain that the dancer was receiving a particular treatment and when they had been seen, but not the progress. And the last one wouldn't tell me the issue or treatment, but what he felt the dancer was able to do "can walk and mark, but cannot jump" kind of info. The last one may have been the safest, as I had to relay what the dancer was allowed to do, to make sure their healing was on track.

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