Pair of St. John’s lawyers file class-action lawsuit against Central Health over privacy breach | Local | News

ST. JOHN’S, NL –

Two St. John’s attorneys have filed a class action lawsuit against the Central Regional Health Authority seeking damages for the consequences of more than 200 patients whose private information was illegally accessed.

“Plaintiffs in this case suffered distress, humiliation, anger, annoyance, emotional anxiety, shock, fear of identity theft, uncertainty about how their private, confidential medical records and personal health information were being used, and confusion about why their private medical records were confidential and personal health information was accessed, ”wrote Bob Buckingham and Eli Baker in a lawsuit filed with the Provincial Supreme Court earlier this month.

The invasion of privacy left the 240 patients feeling vulnerable, the lawyers wrote, especially given the length of time the invasion of privacy occurred, the frequency with which their files were accessed, and the fact that access is in many cases Cases focused on their newborns.

“They are alarmed and terrified about the motivation, purpose and intent of the defendant’s systematic, targeted interference with the private, confidential medical records and personal health of his newborn children,” the claim reads.

Last July, Central Health announced that someone outside the health department had informed them about two weeks earlier that a staff member had shared a patient’s private information. An internal investigation found that the employee illegally accessed the records of 240 patients online between October 2018 and June 2020.

The health authority said it immediately opened an investigation and taken additional steps to prevent further data breaches.

“We take confidentiality and data protection very seriously and sincerely regret it,” said Andree Robichaud, President and CEO of Central Health.

The employee no longer works for the health authority, she said.

The lawsuit alleges Central Health was negligent in 10 functions. These include: not having procedures in place to prevent the invasion of privacy, not properly training employees, not having adequate reviews to identify illegal access to files, and not restricting employee access to files so that information is immediate was available and has not taken adequate measures to protect patients’ private information from unauthorized access or disclosure.

The claim was filed on February 9 under the Class Action Act.

Central Health made no comment when The Telegram contacted them on Friday.

Buckingham said in a press release that he hopes to move the case forward by speaking with the health department’s lawyers and communicating with the court for the appointment of a judge to handle the case.

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