A Manassas-area woman is suing Prince William Hospital for $300,000, claiming they violated her privacy and defamed her.
The hospital hired Antoinette Carpenter to work in their patient admitting office in January 2002, according to Carpenter’s motion for judgment. While she was employed by the hospital, Carpenter was seen “periodically” in the emergency room for illness.
After a three-day admission to the hospital in July 2002, Carpenter was out of work for about four months, returning in November 2002. Her medical records for the July treatment note that Carpenter is an “ER frequent flyer,” according to the lawsuit.
In December 2002, a supervisor posted the work schedule for the admitting office. The schedule included the note “frequent flyer to E.D./mental?” above Carpenter’s name, according to the lawsuit. Carpenter claims about 10 of her co-workers saw the schedule and the comment.
“The term ‘frequent flyer’ is a derogatory term used in a hospital for a person who abuses the emergency department or has a mental problem,” Carpenter’s attorney Alan Shachter, of Manassas, wrote in the motion for judgment. “The language revealed that hospital supervisory staff had improperly accessed Ms. Carpenter’s patient records and disclosed information contained in them.”
Carpenter claims she was ridiculed and suffered embarrassment, humiliation and emotional harm as a result.
The hospital’s conduct was either malicious or recklessly disregarding her rights, she claims.
Carpenter is seeking $150,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages.