According to WALB, Georgia's Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH) recently announced that 6,777 patients' personal information may have been exposed when an unencrypted desktop computer was mistakenly discarded (h/t SC Magazine).

The computer contained the names, addresses, birthdates, dates of service, physicians' names, and possibly the medical diagnoses of 6,777 people who were treated at PPMH between May 2010 and October 2013. In 13 cases, Social Security numbers were also recorded.

According to a police report, a hospital employee rearranging her office boxed up her computer and left it outside her office. The next morning, the box was gone.

"There was a custodial worker who believed that the computer, because it was inside a box, was trash," company vice president and chief compliance and privacy officer Audrey Pike told WALB. "And so the box was discarded. According to the police report, he threw it in a dumpster, but when they checked the next day it was gone."

PPMB says two employees were fired following the incident.

"We deeply regret any concerns and inconvenience this has caused our patients," the hospital said in a statement on its Web site. "We have reviewed and enhanced our security policies and procedures and have re-enforced with all staff the importance of handling patient information with care to prevent something like this from happening in the future."

Patients with questions are advised to contact (877) 866-6056.

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