N.B. man claims he received another man's autopsy from Horizon Health
Another New Brunswick resident has come forward with complaints of a privacy breach against Horizon Health.
Gary Smith says he made a request to the Moncton Hospital for records regarding a surgery he had there in 2018, but what he received from Horizon Health shocked him.
On April 15th, Smith signed for a package with his name on it, thinking his records would be inside.
“It was an autopsy,” recalls Smith. “It was a man who had an autopsy done at the Moncton City Hospital.
Smith immediately reached out to the hospital, but says he did not receive an immediate response. At one point, he says he was asked to bring the package to the patients advocate office at Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton.
After several attempts to connect with Horizon Health, Smith mailed the documents back to the Moncton Hospital, but says he has yet to hear back.
“I nearly lost it when I got the other gentleman’s records,” says Smith.
CTV News reached out to the Horizon Health Network for comment, and received the following statement from Margaret Melanson, Vice-President of Quality and Patient Centred Care.
“Several Horizon employees, including our Chief Privacy Officer and Regional Director of Health Information Management have spoken with Mr. Smith at length about his complaint, and have made attempts to retrieve the documents he states were incorrectly sent to him.
We have reviewed this alleged incident internally, however, we have been unable to investigate fully as the documents Mr. Smith alleges he received, have not been returned to Horizon.
Horizon takes the privacy of its patients very seriously and all privacy incidents and breaches are investigated thoroughly, to contain them, mitigate damages and take steps to prevent them from recurring.”
Smith acknowledges the papers could have been lost in the mail, but argues the onus should not be on him.
“It’d be nice if both sides sat down and worked this out. For one, I did send the letters back and they should have them,” says Smith.
Smith says he eventually did receive his own records in a separate delivery from the hospital.
“I think they should be more careful about how they send their records out and make sure that they’re the right records and not somebody else’s,” says Smith.
This latest incident comes just a few weeks after Jeannine Godin of Nackawic says she received a package by courier from Horizon Health containing test results and confidential mail addressed to four other patients at Fredericton's Everett Chalmers Hospital.
“Who’s to say my stuff didn’t get sent somewhere else at some time?” questions Godin. “I feel that the hospital themselves are responsible for this.”
Smith says he wishes Horizon Health would confront the issue face-to-face with the affected individuals, and hopes that this privacy issue doesn’t happen to any other New Brunswickers.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.