Western Health fires employee for significant privacy breach

Colin MacLean
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Western Health reported this morning that one employee has been fired for accessing the personal records of more than 1,000 clients.

“Western Health would like to apologize to each patient who has had their privacy breached”, said Dr. Susan Gillam, CEO of Western Health, in a press release.

“We take our responsibility as the custodians of an individual’s personal health information very seriously and with the utmost care and concern.  Privacy breaches such as this one are extremely unfortunate.  Western Health has a zero tolerance for any such privacy breach.”

Western Health also stated that it is now in the process of contacting 1043 people who's records were inappropriately accessed.

The office of the Information and privacy commissioner has also been informed.

Organizations: Western Health

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Recent comments

  • Fed up with David
    August 04, 2012 - 13:49

    I think the Wester Star should do a poll and ask if anyone actually takes David seriously anymore? From the Telegram to this newspaper, he has his mouth goin' on every issue here. Like VIcki said, grow a set and get a life, come out of your mommy's house and stop hiding behind your computer screen. I think it just may be time to reveal who the real David is, I'm pretty sure I know who you are. Once I let the cat out of the bag, it won't take long for word to spread thoughout Corner Brook now will it Davey. How is the West side treating you anyway??

  • Vicki
    August 03, 2012 - 21:31

    I really hope someday you grow a set and Stand behind what you say. "David" - coward

  • Michelle
    August 02, 2012 - 10:50

    For those of you that automatically assumed it was a nurse responsible and think that nurses do nothing all day that they would have enough time to look through all these personal files...please see below statements made in Aug 2nd story: All she would say about the employee is that the person was a clerk within Western Health. “We are committed to continuing to safeguard the system,” said Gillam She said Western Health employs 3,200 people and the vast majority of them work diligently and are committed to privacy and confidentiality.

  • sherri
    August 02, 2012 - 07:36

    It was just last week that I said to my husband that I know more about people's personal business than I care to know because of the staff at Western Memorial talking about it. I also know the majority of the new admissions are at the hospital from the staff. Why do I know this? I don't even work with Western Health nor affliated with the hospital in any way. Hopefully, this person will be an example for all the workers in every dept. at Western Health.

  • John
    August 02, 2012 - 06:34

    We are now conditioned to automatically assume that the breach of confidentiality was a nurse,maybe it was and maybe it wasnt but I would place my money on someone in management.I say that because I am aware of several situations where a management member passed confidential patient information on to her family member and it was then repeated to me and I was told not to tell because that individual would be fired if it became knowledge that she passed that information.This happened to me several times so I know that there is at least one member of the management team at Western Health that has no, and I mean no sense of the value of a patients privacy .Did you ever read the signs all over our hospital that states how much value Western Health places on patients confidentiality ?What would you do if you were me and have knowledge of this happening in our hospital in Corner Brook ?Would you report it or would you just say nothing ?

  • Vicki stokes
    August 02, 2012 - 00:21

    So glad I saw David's comment about nosiness of Newfoundlanders blah blah blah ........ From the guy who scoats any and every online article to give his unnecessary and worthless two cents.......... You should start a show Davey Crackpot ............ You're awesome.

    • David
      August 02, 2012 - 07:28

      Had to stick your nose in, did you? Nothing useful to add, just couldn't help yourself...it's in your nature. Point proven.

    • Vicki
      August 03, 2012 - 21:29

      David- ur an idiot. My point was that here YOU are of all people talking about the nosiness of Newfoundlanders! I just found it really funny that you continue to shoot your bayface off about issues you know little about, and then talk about other people. Ur so typical of corner brook i expect little else from you. Hypocrit much? I read the article with an open mind because I have been The Muppets Animal Hospital in the recent past and thought it was sort of relevant to me. What's your connection? Right. nothing ur just fat, ugly and mean. Get a life man, better yet get a death. Pretty sure no one would notice other than the online readers. Anyways, enough people have witnessed and spoke of your lack of knowledge. Everyone laughs at ur degenerative attitude. I read your "rebuttals" like I watch The Simpsons - for mindless entertainment...... And no, no fries with that. Just SAUCE!

  • Whaddaya At ?
    August 01, 2012 - 18:47

    Western Health issued the same statement, word for word, that Eastern Health issued, ie. 'we take our responsibility as custodians very seriously', blah blah blah. Yeah, right, so how come you allowed some Western Health snoop to poke his/her nose into the confidential files of 1000+ patients ?. Your record as so-called 'custodians' is a joke and the staff responsible for overseeing the security of those files should also be fired for negligence.

  • Joe Cocker
    August 01, 2012 - 17:08

    You know, people share more info on FaceBook, Twitter and the social networks than is available through Western Health, and you all scream "invasion of privacy" when you see something like this. Wow.

    • shar
      August 01, 2012 - 18:08

      If I choose to share my personal medical history on facebook for the world to see that is my problem. However, when a person is hired at Western Health they sign a confidentiality agreement. If they have time during their work day to snoop in 1000 patient files then their work was done by someone else. So much for "Equal pay for work of equal value"!

    • Me, Myself & Eye
      August 02, 2012 - 10:36

      Mr. Cocker, while you may choose to share the info, thinking it can only be viewed by those in your social circles, I take exception to breeches in privacy like this. Walk around the hospital or sit in a waiting room for a procedure, you can hear conversations between employees about patients and that's just the beginning. Offices are left open, files left laying around and storage rooms full of goodies left open for public access. The problem is more systemic than just this, and one would could just imagine how much people know in the community when you go in for a procedure. I've been approached by people asking me how I was doing because they saw I was in the hospital for a few days. Imagine my surprise, considering that information wasn't shared with anyone other than my doctor, my spouse and the staff on the floor where I was treated. This person had no reason to know that I was in the hospital.

  • Shawn
    August 01, 2012 - 12:44

    Only one fired? I bet there are a quite a few within that organization that could name a few others that have accessed, leaked and even sold info from people's medical records. My question is why does everyone have access to these records? It seems any employee with computer access, of which there are hundreds just in WMRH itself, has access to anyone and everyone's medical records. What kind of privacy is that?? I think these Health Care Corps should be held just as responsible as the employees for not ensuring at least some kind of privacy system is in place and monitored.

  • L. Hawkins
    August 01, 2012 - 12:13

    Breaches happen all over the place, not just Newfoundland. And it can be any of the staff who have access to patient files.

  • Dawn Oday
    August 01, 2012 - 10:43

    Brings new meaning to the term "busy body". Why would you want to access those records? Just something to talk about I guess. Bet this person won't be talking about being fired!

  • Michelle
    August 01, 2012 - 10:40

    MBC...how quick you are to judge....who said it was a nurse...Western Health employs more than nurses...could have been a clerk, dr, etc....

  • David
    August 01, 2012 - 10:38

    We hardly have 'universal health care' anymore, but we're certainly very close to universal privacy breach. Seriously, the petty and nosy attitudes of most Newfoundlanders makes any level of personal privacy impossible. This place is in desparate need of an influx of people from somewhere --- anywhere --- beyond this island, just to illustrate and ingrain a sense of professionalism and respect for one's work. Simply pathetic.

    • Ann
      August 01, 2012 - 10:59

      Newfoundlanders are not ALONE in nosiness! When you say UNIVERSAL that means everywhere, so the privacy issue happens everywhere. How dare you say we need people from anywhere but here to bring professionalism! I think the privacy issue is a very serious problem not only in Newfoundland.

    • David
      August 01, 2012 - 13:19

      Ann you are either being sarcastic, or you are a nurse, or you are 12 years old. People sticking their noses in everyone else's business is the favoritae pasttime of Newfoundland. And I have no problem daring to say it .... it is a very basic, irritating fact.

    • Brian
      August 02, 2012 - 09:38

      People everywhere in the world are nosey. I understand that demeaning a population somehow gives you a sense of accomplishment or pride but it's pretty sad. Have you ever read any news on a national site? Plenty of privacy breaches throughout the world, yet here you are again trying to justify a blatently prejudice opinion of the people of our province. The lack of respect shown by individuals such as yourself is quite low in NL which is something to be proud of. Good try, next.

    • Newfoundland Girl
      August 03, 2012 - 00:02

      Really? David you need to get some 'facts'. Newfoundland People are known for being hard working, professional people. Privacy breaches can happen anywhere and everywhere. Perhaps you need an influx of common sense.

  • Ben
    August 01, 2012 - 10:30

    Yeah the big cry from the Nurses Union is that nurses are over worked and there are not enough of them in the hospitals. Well if this is what some of the nurses are doing maybe we can get rid of some of them and hire more LPN's, the people who do the real work in the hospital.

  • MBC
    August 01, 2012 - 09:33

    How busy are nurses when you have all time to access 1000 records???? Too much free time???

    • Cb resident
      August 01, 2012 - 10:41

      Who said it's was a nurse? Not right to assumer MBC

    • Dave Noseworthy
      August 01, 2012 - 10:46

      MBC - who said it was a nurse? Could have been anyone with computer access, like someone in admitting, or medical records. I do think it's unfair this person accessed all these person's private files, yet remains unnamed.

    • John Stihl
      August 01, 2012 - 12:24

      Keep smoking, keep overeating, stay on that chesterfield and eventually they will make money off of you when you get older. :) Maybe even a double time shift here and there to top up their RRSPs or that March Vacation. I doubt it was a nurse.. and if it was its because they haven"t admitted you yet. The sicker you are the more money for all. :) Think about this for a moment... Drs and nurses working in the hospital ONLY get paid when your sick.. Ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome ? Another catch phrase for being a slouch. Just hope that when you hit 70 that you drop dead. Otherwise they keep prolonging your misery as you age a bit more. :) What a joke Eastern Health now has. http://www.easternhealth.ca/WebInWeb.aspx?d=3&id=1487&p=981 It never has worked and it won"t change. Make sure you bring in your MCP card or they will bill your MasterCard.