Northwestern Hospital employees say they were fired over Smollett’s records
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The Northwestern Memorial Hospital employee thought nothing of it when a coworker walked over to her desk and asked if “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett had been admitted under an alias.
Now, the employee — an administrator with an advanced degree — is out of a job, after she was told she’d inappropriately accessed Smollett’s records, violating hospital rules.
The administrator, who didn’t want her name used, told the Chicago Sun-Times she was stunned by her dismissal — and she suspects others may have been fired or disciplined for doing the same thing.
“I didn’t get any information about [Smollett]. I never clicked on his name and entered his record,” said the former administrator.
A Northwestern spokesman, citing privacy rules and company policy, declined to comment Thursday.
CBS 2 Chicago first reported the story. A nurse, who was not named, told CBS 2 Chicago she simply scrolled past Smollett’s chart without actually accessing it.
The nurse said it was a misunderstanding, but she wasn’t given the chance to offer an explanation. The story, citing unnamed sources, says many more Northwestern employees have been fired in connection with the incident.
Smollett was treated in the hospital’s emergency room on Jan. 29 after a downtown attack that he claimed was racially motivated, but that police and prosecutors now say was a hoax intended to generate publicity.
The worker who spoke to the Sun-Times said she did not know how many workers were involved.
The day Smollett was at the hospital, his arrival and the alleged attack were all over the news, the worker said.
An employee in another department came to her desk and asked if Smollett been admitted under an alias, the worker said, adding that she didn’t ask why the information was needed because she believed it to be a professional request.
A few weeks later, the worker was called to a meeting with her boss and a representative from human resources, the worker said.
“They called it a ‘huge breach,’ and I said, ‘If that’s the case, don’t you think it’s a training issue?'” the worker said.
Late last month, she was called to another meeting and told she was being fired.
“They again said I accessed [Smollett’s] record, and I said I didn’t access his record,” the worker said. She said she had worked at Northwestern for two years and had no previous disciplinary issues.
Cook County prosecutors have charged Smollett with felony disorderly conduct, the charge used for filing a false police report.
Prosecutors say Smollett enlisted the help of two brothers, one of whom worked out with the actor and had been a stand-in on “Empire.” Smollett later wrote a check for $3,500 to one of the brothers, prosecutors say.
The brothers were detained and then released without being charged.
• 2 brothers involved in alleged hoax attack on ‘Empire’ actor speak out
• Smollett dragged ‘Chicago’s reputation through the mud’: CPD Supt. Johnson
• Jussie Smollett turns himself in to cops after allegedly staging hate crime
• Jussie Smollett charged with disorderly conduct, prosecutors say