Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Incident: Michigan reporter finds health information in medical centres' dumpsters

Fraudsters, blackmailers and identity theives are usually pretty quiet about what they find while dumpster diving. Reporters, on the other hand, are more than happy to tell you what they've found. This is the case with Amy Fox of WZZM in Michigan. Ms. Fox went on an expedition to check out the dumpsters in the vicinity of medical centres. She found that half of all unsecured dumpsters had personal health information, incuding some very sensitive information. Today is a day that I'm glad that I'm not Dr. Dorsey Ligon:

WZZM 13 Grand Rapids - Medical Privacy: Trashed

In the same dumpster, outside the same medical office complex, we found multiple documents from OB/GYN, Dr. Dorsey Ligon's office. We found forms with patient's names, addresses, social security numbers, and other identifiers like where they work. We also found a patient's hospital discharge report with detailed information about her hysterectomy and her history of treatment for depression. It's a document that disturbed Denise Chrysler of the Department of Community Health. She asked, “You said, in a dumpster?" That's right; we found the documents in an unprotected dumpster just outside of a doctor's office. Dr. Ligon's office gave us a statement about the strict measures in place to protect patient's privacy, including paper shredders throughout the office. The statement also says, "When a flaw in the system has been recognized we take immediate action to resolve the issue. Our patients can be assured that their expectation for privacy will be met."

Part II is here: WZZM 13 Grand Rapids - MEDICAL PRIVACY TRASHED PART 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The real problem here is that I have a mobile document shredding company here in Grand Rapids MI. I have approached this office about my service, was turned away. Told they did not need a shredding service.