February 29, 2024

Your privacy is valuable to us: we can sell it to the newspapers

More scandal at UCLA Medical Center

The UCLA medical worker who sneaked a peek at Britney Spears’ medical records was not a lone ranger. Last month the Los Angeles Times revealed that there had been serious privacy breaches at UCLA Medical Center. The hospital subsequently fired 13 workers and disciplined 12 others. Now it appears that there have been other breaches as well. When 70s TV star Farrah Fawcett was admitted for cancer treatment, another employee repeatedly looked at her records. This information may have been sold, say her lawyers, as tabloids were telling the world that "Farrah’s cancer is back!" before Farrah had told her son.

It now appears that the unnamed employee looked at the records of 32 celebrities, politicians, and high-profile patients, including the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Schriver, plus "non-celebrities" (some of these exist in California, apparently). Kim Belshé, a government official in charge of privacy legislation, says that her agency is studying whether tougher penalties are needed. "It is a fundamental responsibility of a health facility to provide for the health and safety of their patients and maintain the confidentiality of their medical records," Belshé said. "That is as true for John Q. Public as it is for Maria Shriver and any other individual in our state." Los Angeles Times, Apr 7