Health Care

Two fired for breach of hospital record of NFL player Jason Pierre-Paul’s finger amputation

New York Giants pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul recovers a fumble from the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium during a game on Dec. 14, 2015. Pierre-Paul returned to the field after having his right index finger amputated following a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami.
New York Giants pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul recovers a fumble from the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium during a game on Dec. 14, 2015. Pierre-Paul returned to the field after having his right index finger amputated following a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Seven months after New York Giants player Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated — and a multimillion-dollar NFL contract negotiation derailed — administrators at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital announced Friday that two employees, an operating room nurse and a secretary, have been fired for accessing the information in violation of federal patient privacy laws.

Immacula Richmond, a clinical staff nurse in the operating room, and Brenda Jackson, a secretary, were fired following an internal investigation into the leak of Pierre-Paul’s medical record.

Ed O’Dell, a Jackson Memorial spokesman, issued a written statement that an internal investigation at the hospital revealed that the two employees had “inappropriately accessed the patient’s health record.”

O’Dell said he did not know if the two employees faced further penalty for violating the law, but his written statement noted that the hospital system had been named as a defendant in a lawsuit related to the breach. The lawsuit has been settled.

Pierre-Paul, 27, had his right finger amputated at Jackson Memorial following a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami last summer.

Details of his stay at Miami-Dade’s public hospital system were supposed to remain confidential under federal law. But the extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries became public knowledge days later when ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who covers the NFL, posted a picture of the medical chart on Twitter.

Patient medical records are protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, which can be enforced through civil and criminal penalties.

Soon after, the Giants rescinded a $60 million contract offer to the star pass rusher, who has since returned to the field and played while wearing a cast on his right hand. In addition to the amputation, Pierre-Paul injured his right thumb and sustained burns from the fireworks accident.

Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, reached agreement with the Giants in October. His Twitter page now features a prominent photo of the remains of his right index finger.

Richmond had been an employee of Jackson Health since March 1998, earning a salary of $136,000 in 2014. Jackson had worked for the hospital system since December 2001 and earned about $39,000 in 2014.

Daniel Chang: 305-376-2012, @dchangmiami

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