Nanaimo family’s health records accessed during privacy breach at hospital


WATCH: It’s a startling revelation. Island Health says the privacy of 102 people has been breached, including one woman and four of her family members. Kendall Hanson now with more on this and who is responsible.

Karen Stephens says she was shocked when the call came.

On Monday,  Island Health told her that her medical records had been compromised.

“That somebody had been looking at my information. That I was part of an ongoing investigation. That they found a pattern and they found me within the pattern,” said Stephens.

She also learned her parents, who recently passed away, had their records breached as well.

Her father’s records were improperly accessed 17 times, her mother’s 10 times.

It doesn’t stop there. Stephens says her brother and one of her children also got the same call about their records having been breached.

“After another day, it was five family members [and] we thought possibly someone was stalking us,” said Stephens.

Island Health says the privacy breach happened at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

An investigation was launched after a routine surveillance audit identified suspicious activity.

Two weeks ago, that investigation found the information of 102 people had been accessed.

The health authority says “the situation is unacceptable and we wholeheartedly apologize to everyone who has been affected.”

Island Health says one employee was responsible and that person is no longer employed by the organization.

B.C.’s Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy says it’s extremely troubling that breaches like this continue to occur in B.C..

He is calling for stiffer penalties.

“There need to be offence provisions in our legislation that make it an offence to wrongly access people’s personal sensitive information along with significant fines as it is in many other provinces in this country.”

Stephens agrees she says the penalties should be harsher.

“That’s another thing that annoys me. They have 102 people to contact, 102 letters to write. The investigation is all on our tax dollars so implement a fine. The fines could help for the future rather than our tax dollars.”

Stephens personal health number, address and birthdate are among the information accessed. She’s since taken precautions to protect herself from identity theft.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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