Former cancer clinic employee fined for snooping in patient files

1 / 3
Former cancer clinic employee fined for snooping in patient files

A St. John's woman's curiosity has caused her humiliation and cost her a job at the Eastern Health cancer clinic, and now she's been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Renee King was convicted in provincial court in St. John's Thursday of accessing personal health information that she was not entitled to see.

King, 39, worked for Eastern Health for about 10 years in housekeeping, but because of an injury was able to bump into a clerical position at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre at the Health Sciences complex.

She was at the cancer centre for only seven months.

As part of her clerical work, she was allowed to enter demographic data about patient mortality into the computer system, and electronically send information such as laboratory tests to doctors.

But King went beyond what she was entitled to do. 

Sitting in court sobbing and hiding her face, King listened as an agreed statement of facts was read.

She acknowledged that she, "Willfully and improperly accessed the private health care information of patients," breaching the Personal Health Information Act.

King did the snooping between January 17, 2016 and February 25, 2016, in what the court was told were "sustained, improper views of patient information."

There was no indication that King, a single mother, did anything with the information she accessed.

Her lawyer, Tammy Drover, told the court that King is devastated and accepts responsibility.

She said her client has suffered depression, anxiety and is on medication because of what she did and was too upset to address the court herself.

Judge Jacqueline Brazil noted the impact this has had on King, including losing her job, and accepted the Crown and defence joint submission on sentencing, imposing a $1,000 fine.