Stolen laptop compromises hundreds of Wisconsin hospital patients

Share this article:

Hundreds of patients treated this year at St. Mary's Janesville Hospital in Wisconsin may have had their personal data compromised when a health care laptop was stolen from the car of an employee.

How many victims? As of Oct. 1, the hospital identified 629 patients who may have been affected.

What type of personal information? Names, dates of birth, medical records and account numbers, health providers and departments of service, bed and room numbers, dates and times of service, visit histories, complaints, diagnoses, procedures, test results, vaccines and medications.

Email information was stored on the hard drive and was password protected, but not encrypted.

What happened? A hospital employee's car was broken into and the laptop was stolen. 

What was the response? An investigation was opened by the hospital. The medical center is reviewing its policies and is educating its employees on how to protect patient information. All hospital laptops will undergo active inspections to ensure the machines are encrypted. Letters were sent to affected patients, who are being offered one free year of identity theft monitoring services.

Details: The break-in occurred on Aug. 27. Affected patients – who visited the hospital between Jan. 1 and Aug. 26 – began receiving letters on Sept. 30. The unencrypted email information stored on the hard drive is a violation of hospital policy.

Quote: “We have no reason to believe the laptop was stolen to gain access to patient information or that this information has been accessed or misused in any way,” according to a hospital statement. “The laptop did not contain any Social Security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, or financial information of any kind.”

Source:, “Statement from St. Mary's Janesville Hospital,” Oct. 1, 2013.

Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters


More in The Data Breach Blog

Professor hacks University Health Conway in demonstration for class

A computer science professor from the City College of San Francisco accessed a University Health Conway server containing patient data as part of a demonstration for a class.

Another breach involving Onsite Health Diagnostics, Kansas City hospital impacted

Children's Mercy Hospital is notifying more than 4,000 individuals that their information may have been compromised after an Onsite Health Diagnostics system was breached.

Vitamin seller website attacked, payment cards and other info compromised

Credit and debit cards, as well as other information, may have been compromised by an attacker who gained access to computer system.