Medical Employees Axed for Spears Snooping

I guess the temptation was just too much…

The allure of knowing all about Britney Spears has landed more than two-dozen medical employees, including doctors in hot water. In fact, at least 25 staff members at the UCLA Medical Center are either looking for new jobs this morning or are enduring severe disciplinary actions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper is reporting that the breaches occurred during Spears most recent hospital stay. (The 26-year-old troubled pop star was involuntary hospitalized at the medical center’s psych ward for one week beginning January 31st.) According to the L.A. Times article, more than 13 employees, none of whom are doctors, would be fired. However, 12 others, including several doctors are being disciplined for looking at the pop wreck’s computerized records detailing non-psychiatric records from her previous visits to the medical center.

UCLA officials declined to comment on the reported firings, but said in a statement: “UCLA Health System considers patient confidentiality a critical part of our mission of teaching, research and patient care. … We have stringent policies to protect patient confidentiality and address violations of those policies.”

Apparently, those same rules don’t apply at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai where Brit was taken the first time she suffered a massive meltdown.

If there is a silver lining in this sad tale, the paper notes that there is no evidence that any employee leaked or sold the information about the tabloid queen. (I’d like to know how they confirmed that claim.) Still, looking at a patient’s medical files is a violation of state and federal medical privacy laws and the state Department of Public Health has opened an investigation of the hospital, according to the newspaper.

And this isn’t the first time public health officials have had to do so. Back in 2005, shortly after Spears gave birth to her first son, Sean Preston, the hospital was investigated after word got out that several workers had gotten their hands on the singer’s medical records. The workers were fired after it was proven that they had indeed snooped in the wrong places.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.