Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A UCLA medical assistant who sued the university broke into tears Thursday as she told a jury that she experienced anxiety and stress after learning that her medical records were copied and sent to two people, one of them an ex-boyfriend.

“It was not easy,” Norma Lozano testified. “I had that on my mind all the time; I remember telling my co-workers about it.”

The 41-year-old plaintiff’s testimony came during the third day of trial of her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents and UCLA.

She alleges that a temporary worker in the office of Dr. John Edwards — an OB-GYN affiliated with UCLA — obtained copies of her health records and sent the documents in September 2012 to the father of Lozano’s then-unborn child and to another of his former girlfriends.

Lozano worked at the Iris Cantor/UCLA Women’s Health Center and also received her medical care through the university.

Lozano said that although she had received harassing emails from the temporary worker while the plaintiff was pregnant with Harris’ baby, she did not immediately know the same woman was behind the breach. She said she once sent the worker a copy of her sonogram, hoping she would leave her alone.

Lozano said that despite her stress, she went to work the day after learning about the dissemination of her records so she could report what happened.

“I was not able to concentrate on my job, I was stressed, I just wanted answers about my records,” Lozano said.

She said UCLA officials were slow to react to concerns and that other than giving her a letter a month later, stating that her concerns were being taken seriously, no one verbally apologized to her. She said she continued to be depressed and have trouble sleeping.

Lozano also said her anxiety caused her to be less outgoing with friends and not want to engage in as many activities with her daughter, who is now 8 years old and was born during another relationship.

“I had no patience with her, I didn’t want to take her anywhere,” Lozano said.

Lozano said she underwent therapy and did not return from maternity leave until June 2013, about six months after her son, Christopher, was born. She said she worried during the entire time that her health records could once again be compromised.

“I just didn’t trust my records being there with anyone,” Lozano said.

Lozano said she was aware that UCLA had a so-called “break the glass” layer of security which requires those attempting to see certain patient medical records to enter a password a second time and select a reason for viewing them. However, she said she was never told by her employer before the breach that she was entitled to the protection if she wanted it.

— City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *