LOS ANGELES — UCLA Medical Center will fire some employees and discipline others for snooping at the confidential medical records of Britney Spears, who was hospitalized in its psychiatric ward, a hospital official told The Associated Press.
Jeri Simpson, the hospital’s director of human resources who was involved in the investigations of the confidentiality breach, confirmed the action but could not say how many employees were affected. The hospital did not say when the snooping took place or which of Spears records were looked at.
The Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site Friday that the breaches occurred during Spears most recent hospital stay. While the disciplined employees were unable to access her psychiatric records, they did look at non-psychiatric records from her previous visits to the medical center, the Times reported.
Britney Spears Gets Hospital Workers Fired
Now, is it just me, or does that headline seem to imply that Spears was the one demanding that the employees lose their jobs? Because she’s an overentitled celebrity who crushes the little people wherever she goes. She’s an unreasonable diva, squashing those poor people who did nothing at all wrong! Clearly, it was a hissyfit!
Well, except for the part where Spears is* hospitalized, and these people were breaking medical privacy laws (HIPAA, anyone?) by snooping in her medical records, even if — as far as anyone knows — the information in them hasn’t been leaked to the press. Luckily, they couldn’t access her psychiatric records, but they did look at confidential information from her prior stays at the hospital, such as when she gave birth to her sons.
I don’t know if the headline was written by the AP or by HuffPo, but HuffPo has a neat little feature that allows you to compare different versions of a story. The earlier version had this headline:
Hospital to Fire Workers in Spears Case
Guess it wasn’t quite as sexy as the one that positioned Spears as responsible for the firings.
Both versions, however, have the following paragraph:
Leading up to the hospitalizations, Spears had been behaving bizarrely. She shaved her head, was seen in public without underwear, ran over a celebrity photographer’s foot and attacked a vehicle with an umbrella.
Of the items on this list, one kind of stands out as being not particularly indicative of mental problems; and, indeed, indicative more of the level of privacy invasion that this woman has to put up with every time she steps out of her door. Really, no one would ever know that Britney Spears “was seen in public without underwear” had the pack of paparazzi who hound her relentlessly not had their lenses trained up her skirt. Someone will undoubtedly raise her celebrity status in comments, and argue that she sought fame, so why should she have any expectation that they’re *not* going to be shooting photos up her skirt? IOW, she asked for it by being a celebrity.
Well, there are two answers for that. Number one, she became a celebrity not as an adult, but as a child, pushed by her family. And number two, that argument is, frankly, probably what those 13 hospital employees told themselves when they snooped into her medical records.
* Actually, is she? I confess I haven’t been keeping close tabs on her whereabouts lately.
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