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Middleborough Woman Sues Tufts Medical Center for Breach of Privacy and Seeks Punitive Damages

Earlier this year, we published a post on our Boston Injury Lawyer Blog letting you know that patients whose medical records have been lost by a hospital have a right to file a Massachusetts breach of privacy complaint seeking damages. Having unauthorized persons obtain access to this information is no laughing matter. Not only do you not want anyone to know about your medical history, but also, there may be other confidential information, such as your social security number and other private data that you wouldn’t want to end up in the wrong hands.

Today, The Boston Globe reported on a Massachusetts hospital negligence complaint accusing Tufts Medical Center and a primary care physician there of breach of privacy. The plaintiff, 44-year-old Middleborough resident Kimberly White, is claiming that the defendants faxed her medical history and other documents without her permission to her workplace.

White says that the mistake happened after she asked Dr. Kimberly Schelling to send a form for her disability claim to her employer. Instead, the hospital sent over four pages of White’s medical records to a shared fax machine at her place of work. She calls the information “extremely embarrassing” and said that coworkers ended up seeing her medical records. White says that this mistake has impacted her career and exacerbated her medical condition. She also says that she is too embarrassed to go back to her work now that there are people there who know this information.

White is seeking punitive damages. Meantime, the hospital maintains that it did nothing wrong and merely complied with White’s request to provide the information.

Breach of Privacy

Sometimes, an administrative error or inadequate procedures allows this type of breach of privacy to happen. In other instances, the mistake might be human. For instance, Massachusetts General Hospital settled for $1 million a federal breach of privacy case over an employee who left the records of 192 infectious deceased patients on the Red Line.

Lawsuit alleges Tufts faxed patient records to workplace without permission, Boston.com, July 14, 2011
MGH Settles For $1M Over Lost HIV/AIDS Records, WBUR, February 25, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Attorney General Martha Coakley, Mass.gov
Tufts Medical Center

More Blog Posts:
Did You Know That If A Massachusetts Hospital Loses Your Medical Records You Have the Right to Sue?, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2011
$2.6M Worcester, Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Verdict Awarded to Man Who Ended Up with Surgical Tack Inside His Small Bowel, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 23, 2011
Boston Personal Injury?: Use of Psychotropic Drugs Can Prove Fatal for Some Elderly Patients, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2011
To find out whether you have a case, contact our Boston injury lawyers today.