Dear Abby: My psychiatrist's office called and left a very sensitive voicemail about my bulimia on a message machine shared with other individuals. Our voicemails are sent transcribed to everyone's email accounts.
Since my complaint (which was an argument during which the nurse who left the private information hung up on me), human resources and the office manager have contacted me to try to alleviate the tension, but I have received no apology from anyone for violating HIPAA or embarrassing me. Should I throw in the towel and find a new doctor or revoke my contact information from their files? — PERSONAL TO PUBLIC
Dear Personal: If you provided a shared phone number as your contact, you should not blame the person who left the message. I see no reason to change doctors, but you should definitely alter your client information so this doesn't happen again.
Your psychiatrist should be told one of his employees hung up on you and you should be offered an apology.
Dear Abby: As guardians of our 5-year-old grandson, we have been given all rights, no terms. He has a father who is "on again, off again" and makes zero financial contribution. I want to cut him off because consistency and effort are important to me, and he shows none.
My husband says the boy is young, and I should give his father some time because contact once every other month is better than none at all. Our grandson enjoys him when he is here, but he doesn't miss him or ask for him once he's left. — PARENTS AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA
Dear Parents Again: I think your husband is right. While the father's presence may be sporadic, at least your grandson knows that he is cared about. As he grows older, he may start asking why his dad isn't around more. Deal with it then. The boy's stability is coming from the home you and your husband are providing for him, and that should be your focus.
Dear Abby: I'm close to my brother and his wife. My friend "Dotty"— who is estranged from her husband — thinks my brother is hot, so when she sees him (without his wife) she greets him with a quick kiss on the lips. I have told her I don't think my sister-in-law would like it if she saw her do that.
Since then, Dotty has asked him to do repair work at her house (without pay) and he agreed because he is kindhearted. I told her subtly that I didn't think that was a good idea. — TOO FRIENDLY IN HAWAII
Dear Too Friendly: The next time you talk to your brother, tell HIM what you think about your friend's behavior, and ask him what he thinks his wife would think about it.