CINCINNATI -- A hospital is not liable for a worker's Facebook post that included a screenshot of a patient's medical records showing she had a sexually transmitted disease, a judge ruled.
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center employee posted records in 2013 on a Facebook group with a name that includes a derogatory term for women considered promiscuous. The records listed the woman's diagnosis as "maternal syphilis." She was also pregnant.
Last year, the patient sued the hospital, her former boyfriend and the employee, who was fired a week after the post.
After looking into what transpired, the hospital found that the financial services employee had accessed the information, court documents show.
A Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge on Monday found that the worker did not act within the scope of her employment and that the hospital needs to be dropped from the lawsuit, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"(The hospital) had a policy. It was violated," Judge Jody Luebbers said. "It's tragic... but that's just how I see it."
Attorney Mike Allen, who is representing the patient, said he expects she will appeal. He called the ruling a close call and said it was decided on a legal technicality.
He said the state's courts "need to take a look at this."
Katherine Klaeren, an attorney for the hospital, said based on case law, an employer cannot be held responsible when an employee commits acts outside their job duties.
Allen said the patient suffers from depression over the disclosure and has lost hair.
"She's suffered great humiliation," he said. "That's what so horrible about this."