Patient says breast center mixed her, others’ records

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

Former patient Martha Tsuru said the error raises concerns on both privacy and quality of care. 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 might not be able to make a good judgment without being able to separate out the different patients’ data.

“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 affect 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, provides breast health services and says in its mission that it offers a “caring environment that fosters confidence, comfort, peace and dignity.”