Piles of patients' confidential medical records found outside Atlanta clinic

ATLANTA — Piles of partially burned medical records were discovered across the street from a metro Atlanta medical center, Channel 2 Action News has learned.

Southside Medical Clinic said they have no idea how the records got there.

A viewer alerted Channel 2's Michael Seiden to the issue in a parking lot across the street from the clinic. Seiden went to an abandoned building across the street, where he found hundreds of patient documents in a dumpster and others stored outside in shipping crates.

The records were in plain sight and included patients' personal information, including Social Security numbers and medications.

Charles Ford and his wife are among the patients whose files were found. When Seiden showed him a document with his Social Security number on it, Ford was shocked.

"Everything should be secret," Ford said. "Everything should be kept in a file. Something serious should be done about it."

Seiden reached out to Southside Medical Center's spokesperson, who said they are investigating the matter.


Th spokeswoman sent Seiden an emailed statement, which read:

"We are opening a full investigation into this matter. Securing our patient’s records and caring for our patients are top priorities. We follow strict protocols for removing and destruction of records, which does not include burning.  We have recently had several episodes of vandalism from sealed and locked containers, which may be where this occurred, but we have not had any reports of missing records."

The spokeswoman also confirmed that officials are preparing to pick up these shipping crates. She didn't provide Seiden with an exact date, but she said some of them contain files that are 50 years old.

Seiden reached out to other patients, but no one else was willing to talk. The investigation just began today.