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Local affiliate sources from Chicago are reporting that dozens of workers, including nurses, were immediately fired and walked out of Northwestern Hospital for inappropriately, viewing, accessing, or otherwise reviewing the records of the now controversial actor, Jussie Smollett.
The accused workers were reportedly fired on the spot, and without much explanation, after Northwestern completed its review.
The reason for any possible interest in Smollett’s charts or health records is because of his “hoax” case that rocked the nation recently.
Smollett had gotten into hot water back on Jan. 29, when he’d been rushed to Northwestern Hospital for treatment of wounds. No strangeness there–the public thought at first–until Smollett claimed that he had been attacked in a hate crime for being black/African-American and a gay man, and his claims turned out to be bogus, according to Chicago police and the city’s mayor, Rahm Emmanuel:
Smollett had claimed that, as he was walking home from a Subway, the popular chain located at E. Lower North Water Street in Chicago, two people yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, and proceeded to beat him up.
Smollett’s claims had drawn so much sympathy from celebrities and the internet–with Smollett even sitting down for an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts to retell his alleged attack story…
…Until: police reportedly found that it was all a hoax.
Chicago police called Smollett’s allegedly staged attack a “publicity stunt,” and expressed outrage that he had staged the attack because he was upset with his salary. Smollett has been freed on bond, after his Twitter-gasp-worthy arrest and has pleaded not guilty.
The social media and offline hype around the Smollett story naturally filled the talk waves of Chicago and the world–and now reports are saying that Northwestern Hospital’s own staff might have gotten carried away.
Sources from various reports are saying that dozens of workers have been fired on the spot, after they allegedly gained access to the Empire actor’s medical records.
The United States’ HIPAA laws expressly prohibit unauthorized access to any patient’s medical recordswithout that patient’s knowledge and consent.
One of the unnamed nurses who was fired, claims to CBS Chicago that she never herself even accessed Smollett’s chart.
However, truth has become a spotlighted issue in Chicago, when it comes to Smollett’s case, and Northwestern Hospital’s stance is that it clearly does not believe this nurse.
According to CBS’ reports, the nurse was fired last week, and the nurse says that many other nurses and staffers who were fired, were probably for the same reason she was fired.
She says that not only Northwestern terminate her, they escorted her straight out of the hospital.
This former Northwestern nurse is speaking out because she said that those who fired her at the hospital never asked her any investigative questions. No explanation was asked from her either.
She maintains that she was simply scrolling to look at another patient’s name–not Smollett’s, and that she may have been fired simply because of the scroll.
This nurse who was fired plans to appeal her case with Northwestern Hospital.
Whether her appeal will go anywhere is highly debatable–as the hospital does not appear to be changing their termination decisions any time soon.
Of note, several other nurses, perhaps dozens of workers who were formerly staffed at Northwestern Hospital have been fired, and this unnamed nurse is adamant that many of them may have been fired for “simply scrolling past” Smollett’s name as well.
Northwestern Hospital is standing by its decisions so far:
Northwestern Hospital did not comment more explicitly on the hospital workers’ terminations, when probed by CBS’s news team.
“…Our company policy prevents me from commenting on the employment status of any of our employees,” said Christopher N. King, the hospital’s media director.
Though it is also reported that Smollett was clearly treated at Northwestern Hospital, King additionally pointed out that HIPAA would not even let him acknowledge whether any patient, Smollett or not, was treated at the hospital.
“HIPAA prevents me from acknowledging if a patient received care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital or any other Northwestern Medicine hospital,” King said, remaining tight-lipped about both the hospital’s discoveries of their workers–and of Smollett himself as a patient.
His careful, heavily guarded, and private response prohibiting access to outside parties, is, incidentally, the expected protocol for health-related matters.
This story is developing and will be continuously updated.