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Class action launched against Montfort Hospital

TORONTO – The law firms of Sutts, Strosberg LLP and Falconer Charney LLP have launched a class action against Hopital Montfort, located in Ottawa, Ontario, to secure recovery for persons whose confidential personal health information was stored on a USB key which was lost by an employee of the hospital. The lawsuit claims $25 million in compensation.

In November 2012, an unsecure, unencrypted USB key containing the personal health information of approximately 25,000 patients of Hopital Montfort was lost. The hospital has been unable to locate the USB key on which the personal health information was stored.

“The loss of confidential information is a serious issue in the digital age. Through this class action, the Class Members seek to hold Hopital Montfort accountable,” said Harvey T. Strosberg, Q.C., of Sutts, Strosberg LLP.

“Patients must place their trust in hospitals to protect the privacy of their medical information. Hopital Montfort has broken that trust. The question now is: what does Hopital Montfort intend to do about it?” said Ted Charney of Falconer Charney LLP.

According to the Montfort Hospital, the USB key contained information such as the name of the patient, the type of service they received and the dates involved, as well as a special code that is linked to the health service provider.

“Fortunately, no other personal or health information was included on the USB key: no health card number, no diagnostic notes, no postal address, no financial information were included in the file,” said the hospital in a release on its web site.

According to the hospital, “This is one of those unfortunate unauthorized incidents that act as a catalyst for the hospital to conduct an immediate and thorough review of its policies and to underscore to all of our employees just how important it is to protect the confidentiality of all patient information.”

The Ottawa Sun reported that the Montfort Hospital has since altered USB ports on its computers, making it impossible to download data onto any type of unsecured memory device. A Montfort spokesperson asserted that no sensitive patient information was lost; only hospital staff know what procedure, test, or service the code in the files corresponds to.

Posted April 4, 2013