Patient records of retired Saskatchewan doctor found in dumpster

Patient records of retired Saskatchewan doctor found in dumpster

The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner say a retired Prince Albert doctor needs to notify her former patients after piles of their former medical records were discovered in a dumpster.

Dr. Lalita Malhotra, a retired Saskatchewan physician

Dr. Lalita Malhotra, a retired Saskatchewan physician whose medical records were found in a public dumpster.

Commissioner Ronald J. Kruzeniski says there were enough documents from the office of Dr. Lalita Malhotra to fill 55 or more banker boxes. They were dumped right into the bin instead of being shredded.

“When it’s placed in a public dumpster, I guess we never know who had the access to read it,” Kruzeniski said in an interview with CTV News.

Kruzeniski became aware of the situation in July when an employee at Crown Shred and Recycling noticed medical records fell loose. Three staff members from the commissioner’s office went to the Prince Albert recycling facility to investigate.

“We gathered up as much of the documents as we could, so at least nobody else could have access to them,” Kruzeniski said.

Saskatchewan dumpster

The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner says a retired Prince Albert doctor needs to notify her former patients after piles of their former medical records were discovered in a dumpster.

The documents were placed in unlocked dumpsters and were not bagged or labeled, causing severe risk to the patient’s private information, according to Kruzeniski. His staff reached out to Malhotra’s office.

“The receptionist confirmed that the medical office assistant (MOA), who they would not name, had been disposing patient medical records, but believed MOA took the records to where they would be shredded,” Kruzeniski wrote in his decision released on Dec.5.

“Dr. Malhotra explained that they normally use confidential shredding (one used with Pharmasave), but there was not enough room, so MOA and their partner disposed of the records in Greenland’s dumpsters, thinking they would be shredded,” Kruzeniski wrote.

Saskatchewan doctor's office

 

Kruzeniski said Malhotra should have provided more resources to dispose of the records and followed up with patients affected before the investigation took place.

“In the process of retiring, there was a higher volume of documents, therefor a staff with her direction, or without her direction, basically took very inappropriate steps,” Kruzeniski told CTV News.

Kruzeniski recommended Malhotra make a public notice, contact patients and shred the records, or securely store those that can’t be destroyed by Jan. 31, 2023.

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