Ca: Steele uncovers major medical privacy breach

How not to write a disclosure letter:

The medical records of 450 people have been compromised after a laptop and a USB drive containing personal information were lost by a medical student.

Carolina Becerra received a letter from Vancouver Coastal Health dated Oct. 6 stating that her hospital records from Vancouver General Hospital went missing while the computer was being used outside of its facilities – but the agency downplayed the idea someone could use the information.

“We have no reason to believe that the information contained on the devices would be used for any malicious purposes,” Chief Privacy Officer Steven Tam wrote.

The health agency said it was “troubled” to learn about the loss and said the electronics “likely contained” Becerra’s name, medical record number, date of birth and medical diagnosis. The lost information was for visits to VGH between Nov. 16, 2009 and March 2010.


The laptop and drive were lost at the Toronto airport while the resident physician was travelling and they were likely stolen, Wilson said.

The resident waited 10 days to tell the health authority what happened, Wilson added. He has been given a verbal warning.

“Sometimes there’s just human error and in this case that’s what happened,” Wilson said.


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