If you think having an abortion means your personal information will be kept private, you will be shocked to learn that the doctor at one abortion clinic just dumped over 1,000 private abortion records in a nearby public recycling bin–outside an elementary school, no less.
After being fined or disciplined four times by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts and inspectors who visited his clinic and reported it was not clean, Krishna Rajanna lost his medical license in 2005 and closed the doors of his clinic–Affordable Medical and Surgical Services in Kansas City, KS. Now, seven years later, the ex-abortion doctor decided to dispose of the records of his former patients which included their names, birth dates, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and the patients’ health history, including if any abortions were performed.
His excuse for exposing these women’s private records? He thought they wouldn’t be noticed:
I was under the impression that these would not be seen by anyone. I thought that these would be recycled away just like any other papers.
Kansas law requires that all medical records be kept a minimum of 10 years, and yet hundreds of the discarded records were dated after March 2002. Rajanna said they were “old records that are out of date” and that he thought they would be picked up quickly. The bins are emptied monthly–that doesn’t sound very “quickly” to us.
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act does not dictate exactly how medical records should be destroyed, but it specifically prohibits discarding records in public dumpsters unless they have been made unreadable.
Susan McAndrew, a deputy director in U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights said this was a major mistake that Rajanna made:
This is a particularly egregious matter to have abortion records treated in this fashion. I’m glad this man is no longer practicing.
We agree. Someone who has such a lack of respect for the privacy of the women he treated does not deserve to have a medical license. Not to mention the four violations that he received before this for an “unclean” clinic. It makes us wonder how safe and professional some of these smaller abortion clinics really are.
Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, said this was just another example of how abortion providers don’t really care about women.
This shows they don’t have any real concern about women’s privacy. What they have concern about is their own bottom line and distracting the public about privacy issues in order to avoid genuine investigations.
No matter what side of the fence you’re on when it comes to abortion, I think we can all agree that this is such a huge violation of women’s privacy–something most of us assume we have protected by our doctors.