Mayo Clinic has settled another lawsuit that stemmed from a data breach involving a former employee, who was discovered to have accessed the records of patients without authorization, including nude images.
In October 2020, Mayo Clinic notified 1,614 patients that some of their protected health information had been viewed by a former employee. That information included demographic information, birth dates, medical record numbers, and clinical notes. The employee was also discovered to have viewed photographs of patients that had been taken for medical purposes, which included nude images.
The employee in question, Ahmad Maher Abdel-Munim Alsughayer, 28, of Saginaw, MI, was a doctor at Mayo Clinic, and terminated his employment in August 2022 around the time that the privacy violations were discovered. The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office opened a criminal investigation into Alsughayer over the privacy violations after a complaint was received from a patient who obtained a copy of her records and discovered they included three nude images that were in her medical records at the time the alleged privacy violations occurred. She obtained the records in response to being notified about the breach.
Alsughayer faces a gross misdemeanor charge for unauthorized computer access. His legal team sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that there was no probable cause to believe the defendant committed the alleged privacy violations; however, those efforts have been unsuccessful. Alsughayer pleaded not guilty to the charges in August 2021. A date has yet to be set for the trial.
At least three lawsuits were filed against Mayo Clinic over the privacy violations. One of those lawsuits was settled out of court with the complainant last year and another – filed in May 2021 – is scheduled to go to trial in September 2023. The third lawsuit, which was filed in November 2020 on behalf of Mayo Clinic patient Olga Ryabchuk, sought class action status for the 1,614 patients whose privacy was violated. That lawsuit was dismissed by an Olmsted County Judge in December after all parties agreed to a settlement, the details of which have not been publicly disclosed.
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