Hospital Privacy Breach at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital

On April 19, 2024, The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced that a former employee of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital breached and improperly accessed the personal health information of 2,960 patients. It is not yet known whether this information was further disclosed to third parties.

According to Health Authority Vice President of Corporate Services, suspicions that an employee was improperly accessing health records were raised in September 2023, and the employee was terminated a few months later, in November. The RCMP and t he Information and Privacy Commissioner have been informed of the breach.

Canadian law places a high value on protecting the privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information. The Nova Scotia Health Authority (and its employees and agents) are required by law to ensure that the confidentiality of personal health information is protected against theft, loss, unauthorized access or use, and disclosure.

“It is crucial for health authorities and organizations handling personal health data to prioritize its protection. This is especially so with the government’s proposed amendments that would give it access to the very personal health details Nova Scotians share with their physicians. Without an assurance of privacy, patients may hesitate to share sensitive information with healthcare providers,” commented class action lawyer, Ray Wagner. “In smaller communities, the impact of a hospital privacy breach can be especially distressing, as a risk of personal information reaching friends, neighbours, or family members is heightened.”

A number of class action lawsuits related to employee breaches of health information and failures to protect personal health data have been certified, and several settlements resulting from such breaches have been approved.

The Health Authority stated publicly that it will be contacting those whose information was improperly accessed by mail. Many of the patients impacted by the breach have recently received letters, and are contacting Wagners to inquire about pursuing legal action. If you have been contacted about and/or impacted by this privacy breach and would like to speak with us about possible recourse, please contact the class action team at Wagners law firm via email at [email protected] or by phoning 902-425-7330.

Mr. Wagner is available for interviews with the press. Please contact Wagners at 902-425-7330 or toll-free at 1-800-465-8794 to make arrangements for an interview.

Back to News & Insights