The Georgia health-care company that employed a former technician accused of falsifying mammogram results says that if it can’t talk about patients’ medical information, then the patients and their attorneys shouldn’t be able to either.
The Telegraph of Macon, Georgia, reports that Houston Healthcare filed a number of motions last week relating to lawsuits against it. Some of the motions asked for gag orders, saying plaintiffs and their attorney have publicly discussed the plaintiffs’ medical issues relating to the case.
The company intends to dispute those claims in court, the motions say, but can’t respond to public comments because of patient confidentiality rules. The motions also said that Houston Healthcare considers that the plaintiffs have waived their right to confidentiality by speaking publicly.
The newspaper quoted one of the motions as saying:
In this case, Plaintiff’s counsel’s communications with the media is prejudicing the adjudicative process.
“Communications is prejudicing”? Let’s hope the judge isn’t a stickler for grammar. Anyway, the motions were aimed at lawsuits filed in March by Macon attorney Neal Graham on behalf of 16 women involved in the case. Altogether, Houston Healthcare faces at least 23 lawsuits related to the case, which we’ve been following for more than two years now.
Houston Healthcare owns Perry Hospital in Perry, Georgia. There, according to authorities, from January 2009 into April 2010, former radiology technician Rachael Rapraeger logged onto a computer system and marked the results of 1,289 mammograms as normal, even though no radiologist had seen those scans.
Ten of those mammograms were later determined to have been positive. That led to Rapraeger’s indictment in September 2010 on 10 felony counts of computer forgery and 10 misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct. Very little has happened in that criminal case since then.
In the meantime, patients and their lawyers have been filing lawsuits. Last week’s motions included requests for dismissal or summary judgment in four of the lawsuits, saying Houston Healthcare had reached settlements with those patients before the lawsuits were filed.
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