A settlement has been proposed by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital to resolve an ongoing class action lawsuit filed following 2 unauthorized disclosures of medical records by staff members. The Chicago-based hospital discovered a member of staff had been accessing confidential patient medical records on November 15, 2019. Following an internal investigation, the breach was found to have occurred between the period of September 10th, 2018 to September 22nd, 2019. The nursing assistant had looked through patient files containing names, addresses, dates of birth, and medical data such as diagnoses, prescriptions, appointments, and treatments. The employee was fired as soon as the unlawful access was verified. In December 2019, Lurie Children’s Hospital alerted the impacted patients and stated that there was no reason to believe the information had been abused or disclosed any further.
This is not the first breach of this nature to have occurred in the Lurie Children’s Hospital. In 2020, the same hospital discovered that another nursing assistant had accessed medical records without permission between November 1, 2018, and February 29, 2020. Legal action was promptly taken by a mother whose daughter’s information had included details regarding a suspected sexual abuse.
In the class action lawsuit, plaintiff Doe alleged the hospital had been negligent for adequately securing sensitive patient medical records, breach of contract, failing to prevent monitor employee access to sensitive patient information. The plaintiff failed to establish any basis upon which the hospital’s actions may have caused harm, according to Lurie Children’s Hospital, which asserted that the plaintiff did not make a claim in the lawsuit upon which relief may be granted. The hospital also denied responsibility for the breach and did not admit any wrongdoing. Despite this, the hospital has proposed a settlement in order to put a stop to accusations of impropriety. The hospital has agreed to amend policies and procedures and implement additional measures in order to improve patient data security, but the proposed settlement does not involve any monetary benefits. The final day for objections and exclusions is January 4, 2023. The final approval hearing will take place on January 25, 2023.