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Appalled at hospital's letter on "breach"

Letters to the Editor


Last updated 1/8/2014 at 9:58am

[Editor’s note: The writer has asked that this letter, originally written to the hospital administrator regarding a notice of a breach of privacy laws Coulee Medical Center sent out last week, be published in our letters from readers section.]

Dear Mr. Graham,

Like so many others, I received your letter regarding the possible privacy breach at Coulee Medical Center. After reading the details and explanations several times, I feel compelled to write my own letter back to you.

Sir, I am frankly appalled that your letter was sent out in this manner. I do not believe your stated intent – to inform patients of the breach. If this were the case, your letter would have left out a great many of the unnecessary details of the actions and intentions of the physician and his wife and would have included a much simpler description and explanation (i.e. “the spouse of an employee may have had access, etc). Your attention to very specific, minute and unimportant-to-the topic detail and suggestive wording leads me to the conclusion that the true intent of your actions is a thinly-veiled attack on this physician.

While your letter may fall into the category of legally acceptable (since you did not identify the physician by name), I consider your actions to be (at best) poorly thought-out, and (at worst) highly unprofessional and ethically questionable. You included enough detail that the employee involved is easily identifiable, at least to a very narrow range of possibilities. Particularly in a small town, this amounts to little more than broadcasting work-place gossip. As an administrator, you should have shown better judgment. Any reasonably prudent person that has been following the saga of CMC would easily conclude that this letter fiasco is related to the ongoing disagreements you have been having with medical staff, considering it nothing less than retaliation.

In regards to your disagreements – I have much I could say, but I will keep it brief. I whole-heartedly support the medical staff. Like so many others in the community, I have trusted my provider with not only the general well-being, but also the very lives of my children in times of emergency. Such trust is not easily earned or easily given. I do not know you, sir, and it is clear that you do not know the community you are now working in. I know my provider. He is a man of great integrity and compassion, well-educated and well-spoken. I will continue to trust him with my family as long as possible and publicly offer my support and encouragement to him and his team.

While my opinion may mean little to you, it is my hope that others will feel emboldened enough to make similar contact. Should you continue these tactics and drive these good doctors and nurses away, the Grand Coulee Dam community will suffer for it. I wonder if the cold comfort of “winning” will give you satisfaction then.

Dr. Castrodale – I give you permission to share the contents of this letter with your staff as you see fit. The situation at CMC has reached intolerable levels.

Alicia Pulsifer


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