Barboursville man sues St. Mary's for negligence, breach of confidentiality

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 12, 2010

HUNTINGTON -- A Barboursville man is suing St. Mary's Medical Center after he claims its employees inappropriately accessed his medical records and disclosed information to his wife while he was going through a divorce.

In March, R.K. was admitted to St. Mary's as a psychiatric patient, according to a complaint filed Sept. 21 in Cabell Circuit Court.

R.K. claims during his hospitalization, he had to disclose personal and confidential information. He claims that he had not disclosed his psychiatric condition or hospitalization to his wife or anyone else, nor had he authorized anyone to disclose his condition or hospitalization to his wife or anyone else.

While R.K. was hospitalization, St. Mary's employees inappropriately and improperly accessed his medical records and disseminated and disclosed information by informing his wife and her divorce lawyer of his hospitalization and provided other confidential medical and psychological information to them, according to the suit.

R.K. claims that in May he learned that his medical and psychological information had been accessed inappropriately and requested an audit of his records.

On May 14, Karen Simmons, a St. Mary's Patient Advocate, informed R.K. that the hospital was reviewing his concerns, according to the suit, and Cheryl Swartzwelder-Willis, the Health Information Management Director and Privacy Officer concluded that there was "an inappropriate access to his medical record."

R.K. claims the hospital has not provided any additional information regarding the inappropriate action it took.

R.K. is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Jeffrey V. Mehalic.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 10-C-694

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