Patient data on hard drive missing

March 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, March 15 (UPI) -- A backup hard drive containing photos and videos of 233 patients vanished from a hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, management announced.

At a news conference, Patrick Dumelie, president of Covenant Health, which operates the Misericordia Hospital, apologized Monday and said the unencrypted drive was a copy and contained 3,600 photos of lab specimens, dead infants and wounds. It also held two videos of surgeries, the Edmonton Journal reported.

The images were recorded from 2002 to 2010, but contained very little personal information, he said.

Dumelie said officials were contacting the patients whose data was involved and offering counseling, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The drive disappeared after Jan. 17 when a staff member was moving offices. The provincial privacy commissioner was notified Feb. 3 after a search failed to locate it, Dumelie said.

He said the commissioner's office was investigating and it appeared one unidentified staff member was likely responsible for the breach.

"In this case, a staff member did not follow policy," he said. "We have a very solid policy that just wasn't followed."

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