CHICAGO (CBS) — Deborah Clark’s family arrived holding hands, unfazed by the cold as they tended to their mother’s grave and said their prayers.
It’s where Tanya Washington comes to talk to her mom.
She gets words of advice and hopes to get answers to questions that she says Loyola University Medical Center has yet to explain about a mishap that happened after her mother’s death.
CBS 2 first met Tanya in September. She had questions about her mother’s sudden death in June 2018.
But when her attorney reached out about obtaining medical records from the hospital, Loyola instead sent a letter to Tanya. It said that the camera used in her mother’s autopsy had been stolen, and the photos were gone.
“To know that someone had this camera all of this time with my mom’s nude photos and I knew nothing of it,” said Washington. “My mom didn’t deserve this
What’s worse, Tanya didn’t get that letter until two months after staff noticed the camera was stolen.
And a spokesperson for Loyola Medicine couldn’t say why.
Now, complaint records just obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators show Clark’s family is far from alone.
There were 18 deceased patients with autopsy photos on that camera. Nine of the cases were never uploaded to their electronic medical files, which, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, is a breach of policy.
It’s a painful realization for families.
“She doesn’t deserve for her autopsy photos, her private moments, to be missing,” Washington said.
Now CBS 2 is learning more about why those photos weren’t uploaded.
But the explanation from hospital employees isn’t good enough for families such as Clark’s.
The source of blame? A cable.
They said the new camera didn’t come with a cable to upload the photos and they didn’t have one that worked.
So those photos piled up on the memory card.
Loyola didn’t respond to the latest request for comment but has previously declined to comment on their handling of this case, citing patient confidentiality laws.
A spokesperson did say they’ve taken steps to stop a security breach like this from happening in the future.
Washington says her family needs more.
“How about a human voice call me and tell me they’re sorry for what happened,” Washington said. “That never happened.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health did confirm that Loyola University Medical Center is now in compliance with policy requirements. The hospital has increased security and educated staff.
The Office for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was also notified about this breach.