A former Actors’ Equity employee had his HIV diagnosis outed to his coworkers after an Upper West Side hospital faxed his medical records to the mailroom of his workplace.
“My most intimate and personal secrets were broadcast for anyone who happened to be walking by my office fax machine,” said the employee, who does not his identity known. “For years now, I have been struggling to cope with how my life was changed by the unbelievably careless act of the people who I trusted with my care.”
The man is in his early 30’s and is so traumatized by what happened that he will not name himself, not even in court documents.
Since the reckless act by the hospital he has hit Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital with a $2.5 million negligence suit for them virtually telling everyone at his workplace that he had HIV.
The lawsuit claims that the man was being treated at the Spencer Cox Clinic in 2014 when he asked them to forward his records to a different clinic. He had only recently been diagnosed with HIV.
The files that showed he had HIV made the rounds where he worked and made it all the way to his supervisor.
The victim was so traumatized that he could not continue to work at the company and was forced to tell his friends and family then, when he was not yet ready to face it.
“I simply could not stay with that company,” he stated. “I was in a constant state of apprehension about whether or not a colleague or supervisor was looking at me differently because they knew about my diagnosis. The paranoia and anxiety was too much.”
The hospital has admitted their error and has paid a $387,000 fine to the US Department of Health and Human Services but have so far refused to settle with the man whose diagnosis they revealed.
“It’s bad enough to be diagnosed with HIV, but to have his health records sent to his place of work for everyone to see compounds a very difficult situation,” said Jeffrey Lichtman, the man attorney. “His family was not aware of his status and everyone at work was.”