‘Paranoia and anxiety’: Hospital allegedly faxes man’s HIV diagnosis to workplace in $2.5M lawsuit

A man has reportedly filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against a New York City hospital, accusing them of sending his HIV diagnosis to his workplace, as reported by NY Daily News.

The man, who in his 30s and identified as “John Doe,” has accused Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital of sending information about his diagnosis to the office mailroom—virtually outing him to all of his co-workers.

“My most intimate and personal secrets were broadcast for anyone who happened to be walking by my office fax machine,” the former Actors’ Equity employee said. “For years now, I have been struggling to cope with how my life was changed by the unbelievably careless act of the people who I trusted with my care.”

In the lawsuit filed Friday, the man claims he was diagnosed with HIV a few months before the alleged snafu. Reports have indicated that the incident occurred when he requested the clinic to send sensitive documents to a PO Box but, instead, they were delivered to his employer’s office.

Doe claims his private medical information made it all the way up to a supervisor, leading him to quit his job. FierceHeathcare has noted that the decision also meant the plaintiff lost his health insurance.

“I simply could not stay with that company,” he said. “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. The paranoia and anxiety was too much.”

Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital previously apologized for “egregious” mistake. The Department of Health and Human Services found the hospital in violation of HIPAA laws and ordered them to pay a $387,000 fine.

Mout Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital responded to the recent lawsuit in a statement given to health care outlets.

“We stand deeply committed to preventing any breaches. We are working with HHS to meticulously review privacy and security policies and procedures, ensuring all necessary safeguards are in place to protect patient privacy. Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a core tenet of the work of our medical professionals; and we will continue to be vigilant and committed in our adherence to the policy.”

Despite this, attorney Jeffrey Lichtman claimed the hospital has made no effort to compensate his client for the costly and traumatizing mixup.

Litchman said, “His family was not aware of his status and everyone at work was.”

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