New Zealand authorities ‘mortified’ after radiology employee misplaces patient info for 26 women

A confidential medical file containing the names, hometowns and histories of 26 breast cancer patients was misplaced in a south New Zealand town this week, the Otago Daily Times has reported.

The file was reportedly misplaced by a Pacific Radiology employee in central Dunedin, a city of about a quarter-million people, en route to a clinical meeting at Dunedin Hospital. Chris Fleming, chief executive of the Southern District Health Board, apologized on behalf of the health sphere.

“We apologize unreservedly for the loss of this document,” Fleming told the Daily Times, noting it was “just a human error but it’s really regrettable.” “We take patient privacy very seriously and will undertake a full investigation with the aim of preventing a recurrence.”

Fleming said women affected by the document will receive a formal report once the government’s investigation wraps up. In the meantime, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said, those women should be notified that their health information could be in a stranger’s hands.

“Some women might not have concerns, but for others it might be very distressing,” he said. “I’m sure [health authorities] are mortified, but, again, it’s not something that can be taken lightly.”

Read more from the Daily Times at the link below.