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Thirty three hospital staff have been reprimanded for accessing and spreading confidential documents related to a patient who had an eel in his rear.
The Auckland City Hospital staff were either dismissed, or given verbal or written warnings, after they looked at the x-rays, blood test results and discharge summary despite having no legitimate reason to access the case.
Information about the patient was also emailed out and leaked to the media, stuff.co.nz reported.
The hospital carried out a six-month investigation before taking disciplinary action against the employees. A total of 49 staff, including senior medical officers, doctors, nurses and scientific and technical health workers were initially investigated, but only 33 were found to be guilty of misconduct.
“The findings are disappointing, to say the least, but we are taking action to ensure compliance with Auckland District Health Board policy in future,” Ailsa Claire, Auckland’s DHB chief executive, said. “Now we must ensure this situation serves to highlight and build understanding of our privacy obligations to our patients.”
Following the investigation, the board now requires all staff to re-sign a confidentiality agreement every year.
While the patient did not file a complaint against the hospital, he was kept in the loop during the review and has been issued an apology.