With so much about people’s lives accessible with the touch of a few computer keys, data breaches are becoming all too common in today’s world. Unfortunately, someone can violate your privacy easily, sometimes at no fault of your own. One recent Minnesota data breach shows how serious those invasions of privacy can be.
A heath records data breach
A Mayo Clinic patient recently has filed a lawsuit over a data breach of her health records. According to the suit, a former Mayo employee allegedly looked at images of the patient’s private parts as part of the breach. Olga Ryabchuk of Minneapolis was one of 1,600 patients affected by the breach. She is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and the right to pursue punitive damages for violations of the Minnesota Health Records Act. She also requests that her lawsuit become a class-action matter. That would allow other patients who affected by the data breach to join the suit.
In a letter from Mayo Clinic alerting her to the breach, Ryabchuk learned that a former employee improperly accessed her medical records in August. The Mayo first reported the breach in October.
Two other patients – Amanda Bloxton-Kippola of Michigan and Chelsea Turner of Minneapolis – also have filed a lawsuit over the data breach. Allegedly, the former Mayo Clinic employee viewed nude images of some of their body parts. Bloxton-Kippola was receiving treatment for breast cancer and Turner was receiving dermatology treatment.
Other similar data breaches
This isn’t the only breach of health records reported this year in Minnesota. George Floyd also had his medical records accessed inappropriately. After Floyd’s death after an interaction with Minneapolis police in May, he was transported to Hennepin Medical Center. The hospital notified his family of the data breach in September. In fact, according to an attorney for Floyd’s family, several employees at Hennepin Medical Center illegally viewed his medical records.
Overall, patient privacy advocates more than 2,550 heath record data breaches have occurred in the last decade. Those have affected millions of patients. If you want to understand your rights if your medical records were part of the Mayo Clinic data breach, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney.