GA. hospital fires 3 for sharing pelvic X-Ray

By Melanie Ruberti - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A Savannah hospital has fired three workers and disciplined six others after discovering employees had shared a cell phone photo of a patient's X-ray by text message and by posting it online on Facebook.

St. Joseph's/Candler Health System spokesman Scott Larson says the shared X-ray showed a male patient's pelvic area. Larson says the X-ray image, which one employee posted on a Facebook page, did not include the patient's name or any other identifying information. He says sharing the image violated the hospital's patient privacy policies.

WTOC was also told the employee who posted the image on Facebook, removed it in the presence of St. Joseph's Candler investigators. Hospital officials say they don't know how long the image was up there, but the employee's Facebook page was set to private.

St. Josephs Candler believes, but has no direct evidence, linking it to a disgruntled, former employee. The hospital system is in the process of installing additional software that allows random audits for all various medical record systems within the hospitals.

All nine disciplined employees worked at Candler Hospital in Savannah. Three were fired, three received written reprimands and three were suspended without pay. Their names were not released.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.