Hospital privacy incident details uncovered

More details about a privacy breach at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton have been uncovered by CBC News.

Radio oncologist Dr. Fernando Rojas accessed 142 patient files

More details about a privacy incident at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton have been uncovered by CBC News.

Dr. Fernando Rojas, a radio oncologist at Georges Dumont Hospital, accessed 142 patient files without authorization. (CBC)

Radio oncologist Dr. Fernando Rojas accessed the files of 142 patients without their permission from two hospital computers between Sept. 6, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2012.

CBC News spoke with several of the affected patients and uncovered a pattern — they were all women in their early 20s to early 30s who are either current or past hospital employees.

Vitalité Health Network and New Brunswick's privacy commissioner are investigating the incident.

The files contain a patient's basic information such as address and date of birth to more detailed reasons for referrals, diagnosis, tests and their results.

The Vitalite Health Network discovered Rojas' actions last February.

'Creepy' violation

In the past few weeks, the network sent out letters to 142 people advising them their files had been accessed without authorization.

All of the women CBC News spoke with say they're shocked and that it is a violation of their privacy.

They say it's "creepy" knowing that he's a physician at the hospital where they work or used to work. Each of the women told CBC News they have worked in some capacity with Rojas at the hospital, but were never his patients.

They say they want to know why he would want to access their medical files.

Vitalité and the New Brunswick's Privacy Commissioner's office are conducting separate investigations trying to get to the bottom of why the doctor accessed the medical files.

Privacy Commissioner Anne Bertrand says she expects a public report on the incident will be released in a few months. (CBC)

Vitalité spokesman Luc Foulem says the network has spoken with the doctor in question.

While Foulem and Privacy Commissioner Anne Bertrand will confirm that a doctor at the Georges Dumont accessed the 142 patient files, neither will confirm to CBC that Rojas is the doctor they're investigating.

The network and the commissioner are trying to reassure people that, according to a statement from Vitalité, "no proof or facts have emerged to suggest that the information was shared or used in any other manner."

Rojas continues to work in the hospital's oncology department, but his access to electronic files is limited and monitored.

Vitalité says if disciplinary action is required, it will be taken after its investigation is complete.

Bertrand says her office expects to release a full public report on this incident within a few months. A date for the network's report has not been determined.

Rojas refused CBC News's request for an interview.

Rojas, now in his early 50s, graduated from medical school in Bogota, Colombia in 1986. He is one of 10 radio oncologists — a specialized area of cancer treatment — in the province.