BMC employee sues physician

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Pittsfield attorney Scott W. Ellis filed the negligence suit on behalf of Ashley Keyes against Dr. Boris Alberto Murillo, a pulmonary and critical-care specialist, and his employer, Berkshire Health Systems, which is the parent company of BMC and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington.

Ellis requested a jury trial and is seeking $250,000 in damages for causing Keyes "severe emotional distress, anger, shame, stomach discomfort and weight loss."

A hospital spokesman did not return a call seeking comment, and Murillo declined to comment.

Alleged BHS negligence

The suit alleges negligence on the part of BHS for failing to protect the privacy of patients' records according to state laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, and not properly training Murillo in this regard.

Keyes works as a medical secretary at the hospital and has been pursuing her nursing degree, Ellis said. She learned that Murillo may have been researching her medical history through another employee, who reportedly went through a similar ordeal with him, Ellis said. Keyes then sought a formal accounting of her records from BHS, with whom she has been a patient since April 1981, to see which physicians had accessed her medical history.

Reportedly reviewed records

On Jan. 23, 2006, she learned that Murillo had reportedly been reviewing her records, including her obstetric and gynecological history, through BHS's computer system at the hospital between September 2003 and May 2005, according to the suit. During that time, Murillo had allegedly been trying to date Keyes and making sexual advances toward her, the suit alleges.

"It took a lot of courage for Ashley to come forward," Ellis said, noting that she still has to work with Murillo. "She wants to expose this issue and force the hospital to change the way patients' medical records are accessed."

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