A former Illinois hospital worker is facing criminal charges after being accused of stealing the hospital files of multiple patients. The 52-year-old woman was employed as a patient advocate from 2005 to 2010 and was ultimately fired from that position. The woman is accused of using the data gained from the patient files to send harassing letters to the individuals over a span of almost a year and a half. She is facing three counts of the felony charge of forgery.
Authorities believe the woman stole three patient files as well as some of the hospital's stationery. After she was fired from the company, she allegedly sent the patients letters stating that the electroshock treatments they received were inadequate and they should look into receiving frontal lobotomies. The woman later allegedly admitted to the behavior and claimed she only wanted to embarrass her former employer for firing her.
Authorities claim the woman's letters included threats of releasing sensitive health information pertaining to the patients. There was also specific references made concerning certain treatments the patients received. The woman's alleged activities came to light when patients contacted the hospital after receiving the letters.
A felony charge that results in a conviction could net this woman a lengthy prison term. Each felony charge carries penalties ranging from probation to a maximum five year prison sentence if a conviction is ultimately obtained. This Illinois woman would do well to understand her legal options in a case like this. In many cases, an argument can be made in court that can provide a measure of justification for a person's actions, which can influence the outcome of the case.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Ex-hospital worker accused of stealing files, harassing patients," Aug. 22, 2012