Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston is warning thousands of patients that their personal health information was contained on a laptop that was stolen.

How many victims? About 3,900.

What type of personal information? Short summaries of unspecified medical data.

What happened? The computer was stolen from the office of a BIDMC doctor on May 22.

What was the response? The hospital is notifying victims. Meanwhile, police have arrested a suspect in the theft. Internally, the medical center plans to bolster its physical security and is launching an awareness campaign around data protection. In addition, BIDMC has contracted with a forensic firm to determine if any of the private data was accessed, but it does not appear as if any information has yet been misused.

Details: The computer contained a tracking device, but the device has not been activated. It is unclear why not.

Quote: "We deeply regret and apologize for any concern or inconvenience this situation may cause our patients and families," said John Halamaka, the hospital's CIO.

Source:, BIDMC news release, "BIDMC Notifying Patients of Potential Computer Data Breach," July 23, 2012.