A patient with a recent head injury is in a coma. The patient had already identified his wife as power of attorney. One of his visitors asks you about what happened to the patient. Which of the following is the best response?


• The nurse must maintain patient confidentiality and cannot release information to friends. The nurse must respectfully explain the patient's right to privacy and direct questions about his condition to the patient's representative 

• Simply stating "I can't talk to you" is not appropriate, because it does not explain why this is not allowed or direct the visitors to the family for information

• Replying "Ask him what happened" is not appropriate in this situation because the patient is in a coma and is unable to communicate. The reply should also explain that information cannot be given out from medical staff to visitors without consent from the patient or medical power of attorney for the patient

• Stating that "He suffered a brain injury and cannot wake up" is inappropriate because it gives out medical information about the patient to visitors that are not the medical power of attorney for the patient or the patient's next of kin (if no power of attorney is designated). This is a violation of HIPAA regulations for patient privacy

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