Physician terminated for privacy breaches
July 20, 2016
MONCTON, N.B. – Vitalité Health Authority has fired a doctor who snooped into the medical files of more than 100 young women. Dr. Fernando Rojas was informed following a June 28 meeting of the board of directors of the authority that his privileges at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in Moncton had been revoked and his employment had been terminated.
In a notice to New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons, the health authority stated Rojas violated the ethics of the Canadian Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons by accessing the medical files of women without authorization.
CBC News reports that Rojas, a radiation oncologist, was found to have accessed the personal health information of 141 females between the ages of 13 and 39 years without their authorization during a two-year period.
Some of the females work or worked at the hospital while others were servers at a restaurant where Rojas was a regular customer.
Vitalité CEO Gilles Lanteigne admits it has taken a long time, but says processes are being put in place to guard against something similar happening in the future. Lanteigne said a new software package is being ordered that will carry out random audits to check on who is looking at what in the medical files of patients.
“We put in place the systems where as we would receive red lights way sooner in the process, so that’s one thing we’ve learned,” he said. “The other thing is that the magnitude of the impact of the breach has on a person, you know, it really brought this to light how important that is.”
A report by New Brunswick Privacy Commissioner Anne Bertrand in July 2014 confirmed the women were not the doctor’s patients. Rojas told Bertrand he was “looking at these patient files out of personal interest and to find out their age.”
The RCMP investigated the situation but decided in March 2015 it would not recommend charges against Rojas.
Rojas was placed on leave for 18 months, but was reinstated in December 2015 after a two-hour board meeting that followed a meeting with Rojas and his lawyer. At the time, the board voted to rehire the doctor.