An Ohio woman being treated for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) was mortified when she learned a screenshot of her diagnosis was posted to a Facebook page. The woman filed a lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati Medical Center because she claims a hospital employee posted her medical records, including her name and her diagnosis of syphilis to Facebook last year.
The Winton Hills woman says a screenshot from the hospital’s records was posted to a Facebook group’s page named “Team No Hoes.” Cincinnati.com reported that an email of the same screen shot revealing the woman’s STD status was also sent to the members of the closed Facebook group.
The lawsuit was filed in Hamilton Common Pleas Court this week. The woman is suing hospital employee Ryan Rawls, an unnamed hospital employee, and her ex-boyfriend Raphael Bradley. According to the lawsuit, Rawls and the unnamed nurse posted the records after they were asked to do so by the ex-boyfriend. The lawsuit also claims the University of Cincinnati Medical Center improperly supervised Rawls and has not identified the unknown nurse who was also involved.
On Wednesday, hospital CEO Lee Ann Liska sent a memo to the hospital’s employees about the lawsuit, according to Cincinnati.com.
The memo reportedly states:
“(W)e take the privacy and safety of our patients very seriously. While the allegations are isolated to the people named in the lawsuit and by no means reflect the conduct of UCMC associates, who are dedicated to serving thousands of patients annually and safeguarding their PHI (or personal health information), I would like to remind everyone that the unauthorized access or viewing of medical records, or the unauthorized sharing of PHI, is a serious violation of federal medical privacy laws and regulations and cause for immediate termination.
“As this case is being handled through the legal system, we ask that you refrain from discussing it. Should any patients ask questions about the story or raise concerns about their PHI, please assure them that we strictly enforce our policies to safeguard their privacy.”
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff is still receiving harassing phone calls which insult both her and her child. Release of medical records violates state and federal laws like HIPAA. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Mike Allen told Yahoo Shine:
“Any time you go to the hospital, you should expect to have your information protected. We are suing for four reasons — unauthorized disclosure of non-public records which is a civil offense, invasion of privacy, emotional distress, and negligent supervision of hiring, meaning the hospital is responsible for the behavior of its staff.”
The plaintiff is suing for more than $25,000 in damages. Diana Lara told WLWT that the hospital can not comment on the lawsuit because it is still pending, but will investigate the validity of the claims hospital employees leaked STD information about a patient on Facebook.