The Houston Chronicle reports that approximately 1,300 Houston Methodist Hospital transplant patients' personal information may have been exposed when an encrypted laptop and paper files were stolen on December 5, 2013 (h/t

The data potentially exposed includes names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and some medical information. The hospital has contacted local police and informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is also conducting its own investigation. All those affected are being offered one free year of identity theft protection services.

"At Methodist we take a patient’s right to privacy very seriously -- we diligently handle and protect thousands of patient records every day and we have a variety of safeguards to protect patient information," the hospital said in a statement provided to "We deeply regret this incident occurred and are taking additional measures to protect and assist our patients."

Patients with questions are advised to contact (713) 441-1001.

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