As someone who’s previously worked for a hospital system, I know how big a deal the mishandling of patient information can be. Medical concerns should remain between the patient, caregivers and with whomever the patient chooses to share.
This story actually begins in Cincinnati, Ohio, back in 2013. A 20-something pregnant woman was seeking care and was diagnosed with maternal syphillis. When she wouldn’t tell Raphael Bradley, her (ex-) boyfriend, why she had gone to seek medical care, he reached out to Ryan Rawls, a friend of his who worked financial services for University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Rawls obtained a bill for the woman, which also showed her syphillis diagnosis.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Acopy of the bill, with the patient’s name and medical condition was posted to a Facebook group, titled “Team No Hoes”. An email containing a screenshot of the bill was also sent to members of the Facebook group. As a result, the young woman filed a lawsuit against Bradley, Rawls and UC Medical Center. Rawls was subsequently fired from her job at UC.
Last week, the plaintiff suffered a setback when a judge stated that UC Medical Center was not liable for the leak, stating that, because Rawls had gone outside of her official duties to obtain the information, the hospitial could not reasonably be aware of her actions. The young woman’s attorney, Mike Allen, says that they plan to appeal the case, possibly up to the Ohio Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Bradley and Rawls are not off the hook and are still defendants in this lawsuit.