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Home > Topics > Patient

Syphilis diagnosis posted to Facebook; Ohio woman sues hospital

The patient filed a lawsuit against the hospital and an employee after medical records containing her name, date of birth, hospital ID, diagnosis, testing and test results were leaked on social media

By Hannah Poturalski
Journal-News, Hamilton

HAMILTON, Ohio — A lawsuit claiming hospital officials posted a patient’s sensitive medical information on social media was filed this week against Cincinnati health system UC Health and its largest hospital, University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Shawntelle Turley, of Winton Hills, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit is also against hospital employee Ryan Rawls of Cincinnati and Raphael Bradley of Cincinnati, the father of Turley’s then unborn baby.

Turley was treated at UCMC last September for a sexually transmitted disease, according to court documents. While at the hospital, Turley called Bradley to let him know she was hospitalized but didn’t disclose the reason.

The lawsuit states Bradley then said he would ask his other baby’s mother, Ryan Rawls, who worked at the hospital, for the information.

Rawls, along with a second, unidentified hospital employee, allegedly posted the patient’s private medical information Sept. 19, 2013 on a Facebook page titled “Team No Hoes.”

The medical information shared included the patient’s name, date of birth, hospital ID number, diagnosis, testing and test results.

The lawsuit details nine counts against the defendants, including unauthorized disclosure of nonpublic medical records, invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress and malice.

Turley is seeking damages and legal fees amounting to at least $25,000.

UC Health officials declined comment on the pending litigation or whether the employees have been fired. But an internal email sent Wednesday to UC Health employees from Lee Ann Liska, president and chief executive officer of UCMC, addressed the lawsuit.

“We cannot comment on pending litigation. However, we take the privacy and safety of our patients very seriously,” Liska said in the email.

“While the allegations are isolated to the people named in the lawsuit (and by no means reflect the conduct of UCMC associates, who are dedicated to serving thousands of patients annually and safeguarding their PHI), I would like to remind everyone that the unauthorized access or viewing of medical records, or the unauthorized sharing of PHI, is a serious violation of federal medical privacy laws and regulations and cause for immediate termination.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
UCMC treats about 85,000 patients per year and has 10,000 employees, according to a UC Health official.

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