Theft of flash drives from hospital employee’s car affects 5,000 patients

Healthcare and Public Health // California, United States

Medical diagnoses and other personal data were stolen when someone nabbed a Palomar Health laptop and two jump drives from a staffer trying to work after-hours.

The computer was encrypted, but the flash drives were not.

After learning of the theft, Palomar Health hired outside investigators to reconstruct the information on the flash drives. After that work wrapped on 3/24, the hospital began notifying affected patients on 3/28.

The flash drives also contained patient names, dates of birth, treatment information, insurance data, and 36 Medicare identification numbers.

The files involved patients treated since 2008.

As of 3/28, Palomar Health had no reports that any of the stolen data had been used for malicious purposes.

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