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Hospital error leads to disclosure of 20,000 patient records

At hospitals, data breaches and security lapses can sometimes be as injurious to patients as a misdiagnosis or surgical error. That is why it's shocking that a hospital inadvertently disclosed the medical records of 20,000 patients.

A woman has filed suit over the matter, claiming that the hospital's error disclosed information regarding the sexual assault of her daughter. The young teen was 11 at the time of her rape and has understandably battled psychological problems since.

The girl recently received a letter asking her to participate in a medical study concerning depression. According to the mother, the letter is proof that the hospital's mistake allowed her daughter's file to land in an outsider's hands.

The security lapse resulted when the hospital erroneously sent the 20,000 files to two people applying for a job at the hospital.

The case presents an incredibly difficult case from both a legal and personal perspective. We all trust that our medical records will remain private and the disclosure of them can cause profound anguish, mental injury and distrust.

Proving psychological harm, and its extent, can be extremely difficult in lawsuits. Even if a patient successfully proves mental injury, jurors can disagree profoundly on the amount of damages that is warranted. The expertise of an accomplished medical malpractice attorney is vital.

Source:, "Mother Files Lawsuit Against Rady Children's Hospital Over Data Breach," Cristin Severance, Aug. 14, 2014

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