A secretary fired from Jackson Health System in Miami for accessing the medical record of New York Giants’ football player Jason Pierre-Paul is suing Miami-Dade County’s public hospital network. She claims she did not access the patient record and that the health system defamed and libeled her.
Pierre-Paul had sought treatment at Jackson Memorial after a fireworks accident over the Fourth of July weekend in 2015. A few days later, ESPN posted a photo of part of Pierre-Paul’s medical record on Twitter showing that the player had had a finger amputated.
Brenda Jackson had worked for 14 years at Jackson Memorial Hospital and says in her lawsuit that hospital administrators incorrectly blamed her for the HIPAA violation and made false accusations to the media. The experience triggered nightmares, migraine headaches, and other sudden illness, according to the lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000.
In addition to Jackson, the hospital fired a clinical staff nurse.
Jackson Health asserts that on July 21, 2015, the secretary accessed the patient’s chart four times “without any necessary reason and authorization to do so.”
That date is almost two weeks after the July 4 weekend when Pierre-Paul’s records were leaked to ESPN, which suggests that the secretary may not have been involved with the initial leak to the media. The statement announcing the dismissal of two employees in February did not say that either was responsible for the leak to ESPN.
Pierre-Paul sued for civil damages, and the hospital announced a settlement. He is now suing ESPN.