Medical Student Sues Marshall University Hospital for Unauthorized Sharing of X-rays

A medical student has filed a lawsuit against Marshall University and Cabell Huntington Hospital claiming that his x-rays were shared with fellow students in a class without his consent.

The lawsuit, filed by the student who identifies as J.M.A., claims that a professor at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine showed his x-rays to fellow students during a class. J.M.A. claims that the professor failed to remove the information that identified the x-rays as his. As such, the images were identifiable as his. As J.M.A’s consent was not obtained before the x-rays were shared, this incident potentially constitutes a breach of protected health information (PHI).

Another faculty member at the School of Medicine reported the incident to Marshall University. On April 15, 2018, the dean of the medical school wrote to J.M.A to inform him of the privacy violation. The university claimed that they were unaware that the professor was using the image as a teaching tool and therefore breaching J.M.A’s privacy rights.

In the lawsuit, J.M.A. claims he has suffered shame, humiliation, and severe anxiety as a direct result of the breach.

“By the medical school’s own admission, it did not become aware of its own employee’s conduct until another faculty member brought it to its attention,” J.M.A. complaint stated. “It is unclear how many people were able to view the Plaintiff’s sensitive medical information, and to how many other individuals they reported what they saw.”

J.M.A is represented by Troy N. Giatras, Matthew W. Stonestreet, and Phillip A. Childs of The Giatras Law Firm, and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The defendants have submitted three motions to dismiss the lawsuit. The defendants include Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University Board of Governors, and Radiology Inc.

The defendants are seeking to have the case dismissed as the “civil action was not brought in the county wherein the cause of action arose, there is no provision for transfer of venue to another county in West Virginia.”

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