Suit Alleges NY EMT Posted Confidential Patient Info on Facebook

A New York man who was transported to the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, 2019, has filed suit against FDNY and an EMT alleging that the EMT posted his confidential medical information on Facebook. Jermaine Williams is suing FDNY and EMT Diane Wagerik in New York Supreme Court.

A copy of the complaint is not available, but according to the Staten Island Advance, Williams was being transported to the hospital when Wagerik snapped a photo of her computer screen that contained William’s medical information including his cellphone number, and then posted it to Facebook. Shortly thereafter, Williams received a cellphone call from someone in Hawaii who said they saw his phone number and medical information on Facebook. An emoji covered William’s name.

Williams immediately confronted Wagerik about what she had done. The lawsuit contends Wagerik violated his right to privacy and confidentiality. According to the Advance, an FDNY spokesperson said Wagerik is not employed by FDNY. It remains unclear if that means she never worked for FDNY, or whether she was working for FDNY when the incident occurred and has since moved on.

I did located the minutes from a meeting of the Southern Tier Regional EMS Council dated November 12, 2020 that lists a number of “Enforcements”, including: “Diane Wagerik, Old Bridge, NJ, EMT 460582 for violations of 800.15(b).”

NY State EMS Regulations reads as follows:

800.15 Required conduct. Every person certified at any level pursuant to this Part or Article 30 of the Public Health Law shall:

(b) maintain, at all times, the confidentiality of any and all patient information to which the certificate holder has access concerning patients alive or deceased, including, but not limited to, patient names, conditions, treatments, descriptions, communications, images or other identifying features, irrespective of whether the patient’s name is included, which may be transmitted by electronic or other media, (subject to enumerated exceptions].

More on the lawsuit. As always if a copy of the complaint becomes available, it will be posted here.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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