Posted by Adam Jacobi
When the massive case of rhabdomyolysis hit the Iowa football team last month, football fans understandably wanted to know what caused it all, why 13 young men had to be sent to the hospital before their kidneys failed. And since we all turn into Dr. Gregory House whenever we're on the internet, some people noticed that one of the causes of rhabdo can be certain types of drug use. Say, didn't an Iowa player or two get arrested over drugs? Didn't athletic director Gary Barta say at the press conference that Iowa's drug testing program could have been compromised? Did House figure out another medical mystery?
Well, no; reports from the hospital shortly thereafter indicated that all 13 players had tested negative for drugs, so that theory was out the window (where it belonged in the first place). But hang on; aren't there federal laws prohibiting that type of information being leaked by anybody but the patients or the immediate family members of every single one of them? Yes, there are, and that's what got two hospital employees suspended ... and three more fired:
University of Iowa officials are in the process of firing three staff members and suspending two others without pay for five days for their roles in inappropriately accessing electronic medical records of 13 UI football players who were in the hospital.
The unidentified players were being treated for rhabdomyolysis, a rare muscle disorder.
UI spokesman Tom Moore declined to identify the names of the staff members, what information they accessed or how it was used, citing federal and institutional privacy laws and policies.
Seriously, people; federal privacy laws are no joke, and the UI Hospitals and Clinics really had no option but to take severe action against those involved. Even if the leak was intended to clear the program's name, the hospital isn't about to suspend enforcement of HIPPA laws just because the patients are anonymous and famous.
However, we at CBS know that readers value information over secrecy, so we're prepared to name all five disciplined staff members! They are, in alphabetical order... wait, our editors are standing outside with spiked bats and pitchforks. Never mind.