NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Confidential medical records used as copy paper? A Plano doctor is scrambling to explain how a patient's confidential medical information was handed over to another patient.
"Once is an accident," reasons Michelle Lamont. "Two, three, four times -- on separate sheets of paper? I have personal information from other patients on paperwork that is leaving with me."
Lamont wasn't feeling well when she visited Lone Star Gastroenterology in Plano. So she says she didn't really notice all of the paperwork she was handed until later. When she took the time to go over the papers, she says she was disgusted and troubled to see they were full of another patient's information.
"This is very personal, private info," says Lamont, gesturing to the papers. "It tells me what medication she's taking, what her age is, dob, weight, her home address, her telephone, her email… what her diagnosis is!"
Lamont believes that instead of putting discarded paperwork in the shredder, Dr. Gowri Balachandar's office puts it in the copier.
Lamont remembers what happened when she tried alerting a staffer. "I go: 'oh—no-no, this one isn't mine!' And she turns it over and says 'Michelle Lamont?' I said, yes, and she goes 'yes, this one's yours', like... ignore what's on the other side."
Not a chance.
The frustrated patient contacted CBS 11 News and we paid a visit to the doctor's Plano office. After showing Dr. Balachandar copies of the medical information that wound up in the wrong hands, she asked to be allowed to "…look into it before we start talking. I need some time to think about it."
According to Lamont, the staffer grabbed paper for her copies from cubbies against the wall. When asked, Dr. Balachandar told us the paper that the office uses is new and added, "I would like to take some legal counsel on this."
Lamont says she was ill when she visited the Plano office and now she's absolutely sick that her personal information could end up in the hands of the next patient.
"When you're at the doctor and you don't feel well, the last thing you want to think about is the fact that your personal information can be given to anybody who walks in that door."
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