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UMC launches probe after confidential patient records were mistakenly given to wrong family

EL PASO, Texas -- University Medical Center launched an internal investigation to see how vital information, social security number and insurance information, was given to the wrong patient.

The family who received the wrong information sees this as a violation of trust. The couple, who lives in Las Cruces, reported the mistake to UMC right away.

The husband of the patient who received the wrong information does not want his identity revealed out of fear he may face retribution for coming forward. He asked ABC-7 to refer to him as John Doe.

"I was shocked. Because you put your trust in a facility to not only get your family members better, and trust them with personal information. And this seemed like something that was nonchalant," he said.

John Doe says his wife was seeking medical care at UMC for an extended period of time.  But when she was released, he went looking for her release information.

Instead of his wife's information, he was given a document, information belonging to someone else, complete with social security number, address, and insurance information.

"And it is a big deal because you know, with, especially today, people's information getting, it's getting stolen so easily, you'd think a hospital and these types of facilities would be protected," John Doe said.

UMC admitted the mistake happened, and was trying to find out how it occurred.

"It never happens. Since I've been at the hospital, I have never seen this situation occur. Once we did find out about it,  we launched an internal investigation to make sure it does not happen again," said Ryan Mielke, a UMC spokesman.

John Doe said his concerns are heightened because he believes the mistake was flagrant.

The names of both patients are very different; John Doe's wife lives in La Cruces while the other individual lives in El Paso.

"(We're) going though an entire policy check to make sure the correct protocols were followed. And if they weren't, then of course, we will take care of that internally," explained Mielke.

UMC contacted John Doe and his wife, but the hospital could say if the other patient, the one John Doe was given information about, was contacted.
The reason, Milke said, has to do with patient confidentiality.

El Paso / New Mexico / News / Top Stories / Video

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

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