Edgewater Hospital’s Medical Records Found at Abandoned Premises

Nancy Loo reports that more than a decade after its closing, medical records have been found at the abandoned Edgewater Hospital on Chicago’s North side.

A joint WGN – Chicago Tribune investigation has confirmed an extraordinary situation involving medical records at the old hospital.  And as Nancy Loo reports, not only were medical files left behind inside Edgewater after it closed; they’re still there.

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WGN and the Chicago Tribune obtained these photos from a 2009 visit by the State Health Department, a site visit Joe Drantz says was prompted by formal neighborhood complaints. “There’s important information about the records that’s contained in there. Even if it’s not medical.  Social security numbers, credit card numbers, pathology tests.”

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A local adventure seeker, who asked us to disguise her face, describes what she saw just over a year ago.  ”There was a whole room just filled with thousands of patient records.  And when you opened up a file, it said the patient’s name, their date of birth, address, social security number. So, everything you’d need to steal their identity.”  So far, there are no known cases of identity theft linked to the Edgewater files, some of which we spotted just recently from the public sidewalk through a street level window.  Drantz points out where most of the files are located. “The files are in the professional building.”

Read more on WGN.

So the state knew about the problem, but did nothing more after getting a voluntary agreement to remedy the problem in 2009. They never went back because they reportedly got no more complaints from the public.

Is that a satisfactory explanation? There are many situations in which entities fold or die and states become aware of abandoned medical records that could be stolen by anyone. Shouldn’t states have some ultimate responsibility in such cases to protect the public by taking action?

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