No criminal charges in N.L. health-care privacy breach

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

Five people have been fired, but none of them charged, after a string of privacy breaches at Newfoundland and Labrador's largest health authority.

In the latest case, Eastern Health announced last week that an employee had inappropriately accessed the medical records of 122 patients. The health authority is in the process of informing the affected patients.

This came to light after a former patient complained that a woman in her community knew information about her medical records that she should have had no way of knowing.

A nurse was later fired for accessing the medical records of patients not under her care.

She's the fifth Eastern Health employee to be sacked in the wake of confidentiality breaches this year.

But at this time, Eastern health isn't pursuing criminal charges.

Asked whether they will press charges down the road, spokeswoman Zelda Burt declined to comment.

"While the severity of the discipline is determined by the seriousness of the breach, there is zero tolerance for willful breaches of patient privacy," the health authority said in a statement.

"At this point in time, Eastern Health is not pursuing legal action against individuals who have inappropriately accessed a patient's personal health information."

Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski issued a statement apologizing for the breaches.

"It is quite disheartening when these breaches occur. However, it is my belief that the majority of employees take privacy and confidentiality very seriously," she said.


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