Washington University School of Medicine announced that a laptop stolen from a doctor in Argentina held the personal information for about 1,100 patients.
Patients were notified of the Nov. 28 theft by letter. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the computer was taken from a lecture hall during a conference.
The computer contained names, birth dates, medical information including diagnoses and surgeries as well as 39 Social Security numbers. The patients affected were treated by the doctor in the department of surgery since 2002.
The patients' medical records are still available through Wash U. The computer remains missing.
In a statement, Privacy Officer Sondra Hornsey said:
Washington University School of Medicine takes this incident very seriously, and we are committed to protecting patients’ health and personal information. We go to great lengths to ensure protected health information is not inadvertently released, and we are undertaking additional steps to prevent similar occurrences. We deeply regret and apologize for any concern or inconvenience this situation may cause our patients and their families.
Anyone who thinks they were impacted but has not received a letter by Jan. 25 is asked to call 888-414-8020 during business hours and use reference code 4692010712.