A New York man has filed a $2.5 million negligence suit against Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital after one of its clinics erroneously faxed medical records detailing his HIV status to his office mailroom, where they were then circulated, The New York Daily News reports.
The event happened at the Spencer Cox Clinic in 2014, just a few months after “John Doe”—as the patient is named in the lawsuit—learned that he had HIV. The unexpected outing happened as he was beginning to come to terms with the diagnosis.
Such “careless handling of HIV information” is a potential violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, and, as POZ reported in May, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the hospital paid a $387,000 fine for sending the fax. The hospital also agreed to implement an action plan to ensure that such mistakes didn’t happen again.
But the Daily News reports that the hospital has failed to reach a settlement with the patient.
The breach of security, he tells the newspaper, led him to quit his job at Actors’ Equity, a labor union for actors and stage managers. “I was in a constant state of apprehension about whether or not a colleague or supervisor was looking at me differently because they knew about my diagnosis,” he said. “The paranoia and anxiety was too much.”