NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Confidential medical information involving thousands of patients has been exposed following the theft of a stolen laptop. The laptop was stolen from the car of a faculty member of the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
LSU says the laptop contained information from approximately 5,000 children, most of them from Louisiana and Mississippi. The information was released on Tuesday, although the theft reportedly happened nearly two months ago. Dr. Christopher Roth, Assistant Professor of Urology, reported that his university-issued laptop was stolen from his car sometime between the evening hours of July 16 and the early morning hours of July 17, 2015. The car was parked in front of his home. :LSU says the professor reported the theft to law enforcement and the university. The laptop has not been recovered.
The information on the laptop included names, dates of birth, dates of treatment, descriptions of patients' conditions, treatments, and lab test results, No Social Security numbers, credit card, bank account information or other financial data were reportedly stored on the laptop.
After the theft was reported, the Office of Compliance at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans began trying to reconstruct the files that could have been stored on the laptop to identify any patients whose information may have been compromised. None of the information on the computer was saved to LSU servers, so it couldn't be accessed by the university. LSU says because of that, it took nearly eight weeks to come up with a list of possible patient names that may have been stored on the laptop.
LSU is notifying some patients it's able to identify by mail, but the university is asking patients of Dr. Roth from July 2009 to July 16, 2015, who do not receive a letter either call 504-568-8672 or toll free 1-844-578-2656 or email LSUHSCNO-PatientQuestions@lsuhsc.edu.
Although the university is not aware of any access or misuse of the data, patients of Dr. Roth are strongly encouraged to visit the website www.identitytheft.gov, which provides a step-by-step process to respond to, and recover from, incidents of identity theft. LSU has apologized for the incident and is offering a one year subscription to a credit monitoring service for patients affected by this breach.