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Watch: Hospital Personnel Fired for Looking at Jussie Smollett's Medical File?

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Mar 8, 2019

Local Chicago channel CBS 2 reports that "dozens" of hospital staff "may have been fired" for allegedly accessing openly gay actor Jussie Smollett's medical information without authorization during his Jan. 29 emergency room visit following what Smollett claimed was a hate crime assault.

The Chicago CBS affiliate said that, according to "sources," personnel at Northwestern Memorial Hospital had lost their jobs for supposedly viewing Smollett's medical records. The article referenced "dozens" of hospital staff, but provided details about only one fired nurse, reporting that the nurse claimed not to have looked at Smollett's information; she said that she had "scrolled past it" in order to gain access to information about another patient.

According to the CBS report, the nurse related having been summoned after a shift and fired without being given the chance to offer her version of events. The report said the nurse is appealing her termination.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported on the story and noted that the actor had gone to the hospital with "scratches and bruising on his face." The article cited claims made by the police to the effect that Smollett staged the so-called attack, hiring Abel Osundairo and his brother and Ola to assault him, but then adding facial injuries to himself.

Smollett is due in court to face charges related to the alleged hoax. Though the Osundairo brothers reportedly told the police that the attack was staged, Smollett has stuck by his claim that he was beaten, called gay slurs, and had a rope placed around his neck by assailants he says told him that he was in "MAGA Country," a reference to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan. Smollett also claims that the assailants poured an unknown liquid substance onto him.

A 1996 law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, provides protections for the security and privacy of patients' medical information. The hospital's media director, Christopher N. King, as saying that due to HIPAA he was not allowed to so much as verify that Smollett "received care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital," the CBS report noted.

Chicago police, meantime, have begun an inquiry into how details in the case ended up being leaked to the media.

Watch the CBS news report below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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