Let me explain: I took my mother this morning to the Salmania Medical Complex for a check-up x-ray for bone density. That section is housed in the very old part of the hospital, a place that used to be the old maternity ward and where I as well as my two younger brothers were born, but now almost completely dilapidated with that old building smell.
The corridors surround a nice area which could be turned into a lovely garden where patients might want to be brought to relax. The shocking thing however is the way that the hospital authorities decided to store thousands of presumably old x-ray films and records at the side of these corridors! Some folders and film envelopes were covered in tarpaulin for protection against the elements I guess.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, I thought these must be just empty envelopes awaiting disposal, but opening a couple and looking in I was aghast; they actually contain actual x-ray films! Some of these files especially the ones on top of the heaps are caked with dust, so these files must have been there for a while. The files had the names of patients, and of course as you can see from the pictures the film itself has the name and particulars of patients imprinted as well.
Aren’t these x-rays very private and are privileged information? Why are these files just thrown there for anyone to rummage through and find the most intimate medical details about people? Doesn’t the Ministry of Health have better ways of storing or destroying old records?
These are patient privileged information for goodness’ sake. Is this what privacy means to the Ministry of Health?
I called the PR section at SMC and spoke to Hussain Al-Mousawi who shuffled this problem on and blamed the Ministry of Finance as (according to him) they are responsible for coming and collecting these files to take them to the Central Stores, and said that these files are very old “anyway” but when I told him that some of those were dated 2003 he promised to take the matter up with the SMC management. I hope he does, and does it very quickly. I don’t have much hope that the management will do anything with this situation any time soon.