Imagine scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed seeing pictures of friends on vacation, funny videos shared - and your private medical records. For an Ohio woman, this invasion of privacy became a scary reality when the results of her STD test were posted to “Team No Hoes”, a Facebook group.
The woman’s ex-boyfriend is an employee at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where the testing took place. After the woman ran into him at the hospital, she refused to tell him why she was at the hospital. The ex-boyfriend then contacted another hospital employee (with whom he had been romantically involved) that had access to medical records, requesting to know why the woman had been at the hospital. It was then that the woman’s STD tests leaked onto Facebook by the other hospital employee.
The Facebook group repeatedly commented on the results, referring to the woman as a “slut” and “hoe”. The woman is currently suing the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where the STD testing took place, for $25,000 in legal damages and an accompanying promise that no such breaches would occur again. She is also pursuing lawsuits against the ex-boyfriend and the hospital employee.
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center President has since fired the employee that leaked the information, stating that “we took swift action and our investigation revealed that the record had been accessed by a Financial Services employee who did not have a business reason to do so…All associates have been reminded that the unauthorized access or viewing of medical records, or the unauthorized sharing of PHI, is a betrayal of that trust, and cause for immediate termination.”
According to the woman’s attorney, she is “absolutely devastated” and feels she has lost the respect of many as well as losing friends. Slut shaming has become so innate in our society that not even private medical records are safe from the criticisms of peers. Along with phenomena as insidious as revenge porn, there needs to be a higher societal standard for respecting the privacy of women, rather than attacking them for being sexual and violating their trust.
My heart goes out to the woman whose life was unjustly looked at through a misogynistic magnifying glass.
Images via Buzzfeed, medclient.com, regblog.org