Teacher claims Kaiser nurse violated her privacy

  1. La Verne teacher claims Kaiser Permanente nurse violated her privacy
    Source

    When stories about hospital privacy breaches turn into lawsuits, there's usually a celebrity name attached.

    Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and Nadya Suleman have all claimed medical staffs snooped through their confidential records.

    But celebrities aren't the only ones alleging violation of their privacy. A second- grade teacher in La Verne says she is the latest victim of a medical confidentiality breach.

    Louise Steele, 56, claims a Kaiser Permanente nurse pried into her medical file and reported the findings to her employer, Bonita Unified School District, according to a lawsuit filed May 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

    Steele accuses Kaiser Permanente and nurse Lisa Martinez of conspiracy, negligence, invasion of privacy and emotional distress, according to the complaint.

    Martinez, who had a child in Steele's class at Roynon Elementary School, did not return calls Tuesday....

    In January, Lisa Martinez accused Steele of making a derogatory comment to her son. Her son was removed from Steele's Roynon Elementary class.

    Shortly after, Martinez was filling in at the San Dimas office of Steele's physician when Steele came in for an
    appointment.

    Martinez accessed Steele's medical records and reported the content, which included mental- and emotional- health information about Steele, to her ex-husband.

    Alex Martinez then submitted a letter dated May 18 to the school district stating Steele "is not fit to continue being an elementary school teacher" and asked the district to investigate.

    Soon after, Steele received an anonymous letter saying Martinez pried into Steele's medical file.
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    33 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    OH my, I can't pass judgement here. I don't know who did what.
  4. by   FireStarterRN
    It sounds as if the nurse Lisa Martinez didn't like her son's teacher, Louise Steel, because she had said something negative to him in her role as a teacher. When Steele became a patient, Martinez pried into the medical record and found some dirt about Steele, and brought it to the school district.

    Maybe Steele had some mental health history that Martinez felt contributed to Steele's less than perfect performance as a teacher in her mind. She threw her professional standards out the window in a fit of motherly concern.
  5. by   oramar
    Quote from FireStarterRN
    It sounds as if the nurse Lisa Martinez didn't like her son's teacher, Louise Steel, because she had said something negative to him in her role as a teacher. When Steele became a patient, Martinez pried into the medical record and found some dirt about Steele, and brought it to the school district.

    Maybe Steele had some mental health history that Martinez felt contributed to Steele's less than perfect performance as a teacher in her mind. She threw her professional standards out the window in a fit of motherly concern.
    OR maybe the teacher making false accusations. I have an experience with something like this. A person's HIV+ status was revealed to his boss. He was very indignant and accused someone at the hospital of doing it. An investigation found that his mother told his aunt and his aunt told everyone she knew. It eventually got back to his boss. My original statement stands. I really don't know anything for sure.
  6. by   FireStarterRN
    Quote from oramar
    OR maybe the teacher making false accusations. I have an experience with something like this. A person's HIV+ status was revealed to his boss. He was very indignant and accused someone at the hospital of doing it. An investigation found that his mother told his aunt and his aunt told everyone she knew. It eventually got back to his boss. My original statement stands. I really don't know anything for sure.

    We wouldn't know the truth until a jury examined the evidence. Based on my knowledge of human motherly behavior, I feel my hypothesis is a stronger one.
  7. by   oramar
    Quote from FireStarterRN
    We wouldn't know the truth until a jury examined the evidence. Based on my knowledge of human motherly behavior, I feel my hypothesis is a stronger one.
    I got a feeling you are right on that one.
  8. by   Katnip
    It says the nurse submitted a letter to the school board accusing the teacher of being unfit for duty. My guess is she was doing that based on medical records she accessed. She may have even submitted some of those records.

    I'm not sure which ex-husband got the records-the nurse or the teacher-since the way I read the sentence could have gone either way, though it looked to me like the nurse sent them to the teacher's ex. If it was to the teacher's ex, then that could be pretty solid evidence right there that the nurse did wrong.

    I hope someone continues to follow this to see the outcome.
  9. by   FireStarterRN
    Although I don't condone Martinez's actions and would have never done the same, I do sympathize with her frustration with her son's teacher. Dealing with the school districts and less than stellar teachers can be an exercise in futility and drive a person to drink...
  10. by   blue note
    Quote from Katnip
    I'm not sure which ex-husband got the records-the nurse or the teacher-since the way I read the sentence could have gone either way, though it looked to me like the nurse sent them to the teacher's ex. If it was to the teacher's ex, then that could be pretty solid evidence right there that the nurse did wrong.
    The nurse reported the teacher's info to her own (the nurse's) ex- because in the next sentence, it then says "Alex Martinez then submitted a letter....to the school district..." What is interesting is that the teacher seems to have found all this out when she received an anonymous letter, letting her know that the nurse had accessed her medical files. Who could have sent the letter? Maybe someone in the school district?

    We don't know what really happened during the initial problem at the school, but Kaiser did fire employees for looking at the Octomom's file without permission.
  11. by   jjdennis1279
    Do we know which Kaiser this involves? Not that it really matters, but I am just curious.
  12. by   Ranier
    Quote from oramar
    OR maybe the teacher making false accusations. I have an experience with something like this. A person's HIV+ status was revealed to his boss. He was very indignant and accused someone at the hospital of doing it. An investigation found that his mother told his aunt and his aunt told everyone she knew. It eventually got back to his boss. My original statement stands. I really don't know anything for sure.
    But unlike your example with the HIV patient, there has never been any doubt about who sent the letter of complaint to this teacher's boss (we know it was the ex-husband of the nurse in question, and likely the father of the student). Now really, how could he possibly have known details about the mental health history of his son's teacher on his own?

    This is probably a huge source of anxiety for a lot of people who need mental health treatment. The thought that someone with a vendetta against you would just happen to work in the office of your physician or psychologist and would access your private mental health records, then use that information to get you fired from your job... yikes. I really hope that no other patients in this practice, especially those in need of mental health care, are now hesistant to come in for treatment out of fear that their own private records aren't safe.
  13. by   morte
    Quote from FireStarterRN
    Although I don't condone Martinez's actions and would have never done the same, I do sympathize with her frustration with her son's teacher. Dealing with the school districts and less than stellar teachers can be an exercise in futility and drive a person to drink...
    or we could have a parent who thinks her child can do no wrong, and should NEVER here any negative feedback......
  14. by   blue note
    Quote from jjdennis1279
    Do we know which Kaiser this involves? Not that it really matters, but I am just curious.
    It says that the teacher's doctor's office is in San Dimas in California. Probably one of Kaiser's outpatient facilities.

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