Medical Files Blown Into Yards After Medical Center Closes Has Some Worried About Personal Information Breach

By Dana Kozlov for Chicago CBS local

CHICAGO (CBS) — A staggering amount of personal medical information was left out in the open and piled up behind the former Medical Professional Home Healthcare Center in Chatham. Even the door plate sat in the pile.

People like Larry Terrell, who lives across the alley, say the piles have been there for months. Terrell said it’s concerning.

“With ID theft, things like that,” he said.

Some patient paperwork was blown into Mary Edwards’ backyard.

“In the middle is social security numbers, it looks like to me,” she said, looking at one of the papers. “It says medical numbers.”

“One day it was a dumpster filled with paperwork, and the next day they were on the ground,” said Marylita Edwards.

That’s why residents called CBS 2.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov then called Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), who said his office was unaware of the massive medical file dump, which is against the law.

“Now I cannot unsee this,” he said. “Now that I saw it, we want to get something done about this.”

The man currently buying the building said he inherited the massive medical breach from former building owner Carmen Dooley. He said the files were in a locked, portable shipping container left on the property until it was gone, but the papers were left.

“It was gone. The trash was here,” said Leonard Stewart. “And I actually made the call. They said they was going to bring a dumpster here to actually load the trash up. That was a year later.”

Stewart and Sawyer estimate there are hundreds of files in tall stacks.

Stewart said he’s been trying to dispose of them himself, file by file, by putting them in city garbage cans, but he has not been shredding them.

“No I have not been shredding it, no,” he said. “I don’t even want to take any of it on the inside of the facility because then it’ll look like foul play, you know? It could be a hazard as well, but for it to sit out here and blow around is even a bigger hazard.”

Less than two hours after CBS 2’s arrival, Chicago Streets and Sanitation crews were on site beginning to clean up.

“We want to make sure this is contained, disposed of properly and the person that’s responsible for it be held accountable,” Sawyer said.

Crews plan to dispose of all of the documents properly.

CBS 2 could not get in touch with Dooley.

Sawyer said he plans to make sure there is follow up with citations to the person responsible.