A woman is suing a Kansas hospital after a lab technician leaked personal information to the woman’s alleged rapist, according to NBC News. The report details a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court against Atchison Hospital in northeastern Kansas and X-ray technician Janet Rawson Enzbrenner.
The woman claims that she visited the hospital after she had been sexually assaulted in May 2017 to receive a rape kit. A rape kit is a forensic exam that preserves possible DNA that can help to provide appropriate medical care and evidence to the victim, according to Rainn.org.
During the process, she disclosed her alleged rapist’s name to hospital staff.
The lawsuit alleges that Enzbrenner accessed the plaintiff’s “individually identifiable health information” in a gross violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. The X-ray technician then contacted the alleged rapist, telling him, among other things, that he was being accused of sexual assault. In response, the alleged rapist “relentlessly harassed plaintiff through text messages, social media and phone calls.”
Hospital CEO John Jacobson confirmed the actions of Enzbrenner, who has since been terminated, in a November 2017 letter to the plaintiff.
“This employee… did access some of your health information and apparently did disclose it to another individual without your permission.”
Just two days after receiving the letter, however, the plaintiff was allegedly sexually assaulted once again by the same man.
A woman filed suit against a Kansas hospital, claiming an employee there leaked her private health information to her alleged rapist — who then sexually assaulted her a second time. https://t.co/vyS3ENzLly— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 10, 2019
Jacobson, on behalf of Atchison Hospital, has expressed his condolences to the victim in the face of the lawsuit.
“We sincerely and deeply regret that this occurred.”
The CEO also emphasized that the hospital took action as soon as staff was made aware that Enzbrenner had potentially leaked personal information.
“In fact, when we were made aware of the situation, we took immediate steps to investigate, and within two days, we terminated this individual’s employment.”
However, the plaintiff’s attorney, Trevor Wohlford, claimed to the U.S. District Court that Atchison Hospital failed “its legal and ethical duty to act in the patient’s best interest” by endangering his client. He declined to say if Enzbrenner was acquainted with the alleged rapist before the May 2017 incident.
Wohlford also added that though prosecutors know about the two alleged assaults against his client, they did not plan on filing charges.
Meanwhile, though Enzbrenner was terminated from Atchison Hospital, she has been rehired at another hospital called St. Luke’s Cushing in Leavenworth, Kansas, per The Huffington Post.
The case was filed on May 8. The victim is seeking punitive damages and requested a trial by jury.