Mar 022011
 

When I think about privacy breaches that can really do harm, I often think of information about mental health issues or sexually transmitted diseases. If the allegations in a NY lawsuit are proven, this is one of those nightmare cases where there are devastating effects of a willful breach by an insider. Jonathan Perlow reports:

A man claims a nurse at the clinic where he was treated for a sexually transmitted disease sent “ridiculing and taunting” text messages about his disease to his girlfriend. The 22-year-old John Doe demands punitive damages from the Guthrie Healthcare System.

[…]

“While Mr. Doe was waiting to be seen and during his appointment, Ms. Stalbird over the course of two hours sent at least six unauthorized, ridiculing and taunting text messages via cell phone regarding Mr. Doe’s sexually transmitted disease and confidential personal health information to Mr. Doe’s girlfriend, Jessica,” the complaint states.

[…]

“As Mr. Doe’s girlfriend received the messages from Ms. Stalbird, she forwarded via cell phone the messages to Mr. Doe’s cell phone while he was waiting for and during his appointment,” the complaint states. “Mr. Doe was understandably mortified that a nurse at the clinic was broadcasting his personal health information outside the clinic.”

As a result, Doe says, word about his STD has spread throughout his hometown of Corning, “exposing him to widespread derision and deep personal embarrassment.”

Read more on Courthouse News.

  2 Responses to “NY: Lawsuit alleges nurse divulged confidential information on STD”

  1. My question is;
    How did this nurse know Mr. Doe’s girlfriends cell phone number?
    Obviously the nurse and his girlfriend are acquainted with each other. That being said, it was not very smart of Mr. Doe to attempt to receive treatment regarding this embarrassing condition where his girlfriends friend worked.
    A complaint to HHS in regards to HIPAA violations is warranted.
    A personal lawsuit for undue pain and suffering caused by stupidity is not.

    • From Courthouse News:

      “While Mr. Doe was waiting to be seen and during his appointment, Ms. Stalbird over the course of two hours sent at least six unauthorized, ridiculing and taunting text messages via cell phone regarding Mr. Doe’s sexually transmitted disease and confidential personal health information to Mr. Doe’s girlfriend, Jessica,” the complaint states.

      Doe says that his girlfriend is Stalbird’s sister-in-law. “

      Yes, this is a matter that should be reported to HHS.

      If you read more about the case, you may change your mind about filing a personal lawsuit.

      You also make some assumptions about people having viable options as to where they seek treatment. No patient should have to go to a place that provides inferior treatment because he knows someone who works at the better facility. It’s on the health care employees to keep their mouths *shut.*

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.