Recycled Medical Records Used As Scrap Paper At School
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Detailed medical information discovered on the back of a first-grader’s school drawing sent Minneapolis school officials scrambling.
Jennifer Kane was tidying her dining room when she found the drawing by her daughter, Keely, who goes to Hale Elementary School. On the back of the paper was the name, birth date and detailed medical information for a 24-year-old St. Paul woman named Paula White.
“The more I read it, the more alarmed I became about the amount of information I had about this person,” said Kane.
WCCO-TV located White, who was shown the record.
“It’s got my account number, my birth date, my job,” said White. “I’m outraged. I am embarrassed. I don’t want anyone to know my personal information.”
The paper was being used as scrap paper for an after school program at the elementary school.
After WCCO-TV made a phone call to the school, faculty searched and found more pieces of paper with other people’s personal information. The school is now holding those papers in a secure place.
On White’s medical record, there was a logo of the law firm, Sawicki and Phelps, which she hired after she was in a car accident.
When asked to comment, the law firm first said they had no idea how the school could have gotten the papers. However, Attorney Paul Phelps later told WCCO-TV a paralegal had donated the firm’s old paper to her child’s school — Hale Elementary.
Phelps said the donation was a violation of the firm’s privacy policies.
“It was a mistake,” said Phelps. “The employee did not believe there was any personal information on the papers.”
That’s of little comfort to White, however, who said she feels humiliated.
Now, Hale Elementary is sending out a message to every child in the after school program to check if any other medical records have ended up in students homes, asking students to return those papers.