A Patient Sues Northwestern Medicine Over Medical Information Disclosure on Social Media

Gina Graziano, a patient of Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group, is suing the medical group for the disclosure of sensitive medial information on Twitter and Facebook. She discovered that a number of of her sensitive medical data were disclosed on social media platforms and made a complaint to Northwestern Medicine about the privacy breach.

Upon investigation of the complaint, Northwestern Medicine discovered that a hospital employee with no treatment connection with Graziano accessed Graziano’s medical records on two separate times, on March 5 and 6, 2019, by using the login credentials of an employee.

Graziano’s medical record included a variety of sensitive information, which include her personal information, the reason for visiting the emergency department recently, laboratory test results, prescription drugs, medical history, imaging files, and other data.

Sensitive data that Graziano did not want the public to know was disclosed on social media websites resulting to her public humiliation. Northwestern Medicine did not divulge the employee’s name to Graziano in their response letter to her complaint, but Graziano found out that her name was Jessica Wagner, who is the present girlfriend of David Wirth, her ex-boyfriend. The two persons were named in the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, it is alleged that Wagner accessed Graziano’s medical records for 37 minutes, then impermissibly disclosed some medical data, posted them on social media websites with motive to harm Graziano.

Northwestern Medicine stated that the employee was subjected to applicable disciplinary action for violating HIPAA and notified the Department of Health and Human Services about the HIPAA breach. It is unknown if there were criminal charges filed against Wagner. Wagner was terminated over the HIPAA violation as reported by CBS Chicago.

Northwestern Medicine sent an apology to Graziano and offered her One year of credit monitoring services as a safety measure against identity theft and fraud.