CORNER BROOK Dexter Allen feels like his family has been targeted, but the Corner Brook man doesn't know why.
Allen received a letter from Western Health late last week informing him he was among the 1,043 patients whose records were inappropriately accessed by a clerk with the health authority. That clerk has since been fired.
He said the letter didn't really bother him, but as the day went on and into the next he started hearing of others in his family who had received letters.
Up to Monday evening 22 members of his immediate and extended family had received letters.
Among them his two daughters, his son, his grandchildren, including one as young as eight months old, his 87-year-old parents, his sister, brother-in-law, a nephew, the spouses of his children and their mothers and fathers and sisters.
"It just goes on and on," he said.
"It actually looks like our family were targeted.
"There's nobody left out in my family"
The only one who first appears to be left out is a granddaughter born about a week ago. However, every time her mother visited the hospital during her pregnancy, her file was checked out.
"To me it's utterly ridiculous," he said. "It's sickening. I just can't fathom it."
Allen said his mother suffers from dementia so it's not something he wants her to be bothered with and trying to explain it to his elderly father has not been easy.
While he's angered by what has happened, he said that anger is mostly directed at the officials who should have prevented the breach of privacy.
He's called the number on the letter to find out who it was, but was told the health authority could not release that.
Despite that response, he's heard the name of the clerk "flying around," but knows he can't say anything for fear of legal repercussions.
"The person that got into this it really baffles me. Because, I mean, the world is full of nosey people, we all know that," he said.
But, he said this goes beyond being nosey.
"I don't think this person, whoever it is, is a professional computer hacker," he said.
"So it tells me if this person could do it, anybody that has a computer at the hospital if they wanted it, I think they could pretty well do the same thing."
Allen also has issues with the letter sent out by Western Health.
He said the letter tends to be contradictory in that it states Western Health cannot with certainty say the information that was accessed, but then goes on to tell you what they know the person looked at.
But even more so, he said the letter signed "regretfully" by Western Health's chief executive officer Susan Gillam is not even an apology.
Allen looked up regret in a dictionary and said regret is something you don't want to do.
"It's not very heartwarming," he said.
"They regret it that they have to tell me this. I don't know how to take that really. If they didn't have to, if they weren't caught, like we wouldn't know."
Allen hasn't been in contact with all his family about the letters yet, but knows he and his children are thinking of seeking legal advice on the issue.
"I'm not standing for this."
He's also called the province's Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to add his name to a list being gathered there that could become part of an investigation by the office.
Among the questions he has about the issue, he also wondering if there are more families out there like his who received letters.