Lawsuit: Texas hospital violated HIPAA, mischaracterized lab results to police

St. David's Round Rock (Texas) Medical Center faces allegations of violating HIPAA and misinterpreting lab tests used to support drunk driving charges against a patient, according to a lawsuit reviewed by the Statesman.

The lawsuit was filed by the father of a daughter involved in a July 2016 car wreck. The lawsuit accuses the hospital, who treated the man's daughter after the car accident, of mischaracterizing her as a drunk driver and misinterpreting lab test results. The lawsuit also claims St. David's violated HIPAA by providing police with confidential information while she was in the hospital and post-discharge.

The patient, Kristina Vaughan, was driving her car on the wrong side of the road July 2, 2016, and crashed head-on into a car. The accident left four people in the other car with severe injuries, according to an arrest affidavit reviewed by the Statesman. The affidavit said Ms. Vaughan's blood alcohol content was 0.28, more than three times the legal limit in Texas.

The Round Rock Police Department charged Ms. Vaughan with four counts of intoxication assault. The lawsuit, which seeks damages of more than $200,000, claims the charges came after St. David's provided investigators the wrong information about her blood alcohol content. A grand jury no-billed Ms. Vaughan's case, and the charges were dropped.

Denise Bradley, vice president of communication and community affairs for St. David's, said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, "The portrayal of the facts of this case as presented in the lawsuit is incomplete. We stand by the blood alcohol content results and have no reason to believe they were inaccurate or misinterpreted, as alleged in the lawsuit. Furthermore, we are confident that our staff acted appropriately and that no HIPAA violation occurred."

Editor's note: This article was updated July 10 at 9:01 a.m. CT to include a statement from St. David's.

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