Cancer patient says Tacoma facility mixed medical records

TACOMA — A woman says a Tacoma facility that aids breast cancer patients improperly mixed her medical records with others.

Former patient Martha Tsuru told KING-TV that the error raises privacy concerns as well as quality-of-care concerns. Her attorneys have filed a formal complaint with the state Department of Health.

In Tsuru’s 900-page file at the Carol Milgard Breast Center, 141 of the pages belonged to other patients, the attorneys said. Tsuru said a doctor looking through her records may not be able to make a good judgment if the doctor doesn’t realize that records from other patients are also mixed in the file.

“It’s a very big deal,” Tsuru said. “I’m very frustrated and disappointed and saddened by what’s happened.”

Executive Director Jackie Ostrom said the Carol Milgard Breast Center takes patient privacy very seriously and that there are safeguards to protect information.

“Occasionally a piece of information may slip through,” Ostrom said. “When that happens, we assess our processes to identify ways to make improvements.”

Meanwhile, Tsuru is encouraging other patients to check the integrity of their medical records. Ann Deutscher, an attorney for Tsuru, said the mistake dates back a year and could potentially impact all the patients at the facility.

“Our goal is to make the records at this facility safe,” Deutscher said.

The state Department of Health is investigating the matter.

The Carol Milgard Breast Center opened in 2009. The facility provides breast health services to women and says in its mission that it provides a “caring environment that fosters confidence, comfort, peace and dignity.”

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Information from: KING-TV, http://www.king5.com/

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