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I-Team: Storage unit reveals abandoned medical files | News

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I-Team: Storage unit reveals abandoned medical files

LAS VEGAS -- Imagine your private medical information being left in a storage unit and then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The 8 News NOW I-Team reveals that's exactly what happened to patients of a Henderson diagnostic center, including a prominent Las Vegas millionaire.

Patient files found in the contents of a Henderson storage unit sent the I-Team looking for the person who left them there. What was found may have you wondering who has access to your records.

"We were unbelievably surprised that somebody would put all their medical records of all their patients into storage," said the woman who purchased the unit's contents and wants to remain anonymous.

The medical records were found in the contents of a storage unit that had been auction off for non-payment. The records come from a now-defunct Henderson diagnostic center that was run by a man who called himself  Dr. Chinasa Egemonu.

"As it turned out, I think he was a complete fraud," said radiologist Dr. Michael Baron.

Baron is a licensed medical doctor, but he has doubts about Egemonu.

Baron read X-rays on a contract basis for Egemonu's diagnostic center called Seven Hills Radiology. He says Egemonu stiffed him to the tune of $40,000. There were past due bills from Dr. Baron found in Egemonu's business records, which were also in the storage unit.

"I don't know. I don't know what kind of education he had. I really don't," Baron said. "He must have gone to Con-man U. I think I was conned into doing a lot of work for him and didn't get compensated for it."

Egemonu's education came up in a lawsuit. Egemonu said -- under oath in a deposition -- that he'd graduated from Yale Medical School even though he'd never been licensed to practice medicine.

One of the documents left in the storage unit was this "cease and desist" letter from Yale University.

It tells Egemonu that statements about Yale on his website were "...completely false and misleading because, as you know, you have never graduated from the Yale Medical School or even been enrolled there at any time."

Egemonu also claimed an undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University in his deposition.

"The custodian of records at Loma Linda had no record of anyone by his name attending that school, let alone graduating with any kind of degree," Baron said.

If Egemonu ever was a doctor, he was never licensed in Nevada, according to the state board of medical examiners. 

The people who bought the contents of the storage unit are in the process of turning the patient files over to the state health department.

Federal law prohibits the haphazard disposal of patient medical records.

"Covered entities are not permitted to simply abandon PHI (protected health information) or dispose of it in dumpsters.''

But the law doesn't specify a specific manner of disposal.

Ordinarily, a court will order a patient ombudsman to be appointed to safe keep patient records when a health care organization goes bankrupt.

In this case, Egemonu submitted an affidavit saying his center was not a health care business under federal law because it did not take patients from the general public and that referring physicians maintained the "primary" patient records.

The court concluded: " ... no probable cause exists to believe that debtor is a 'health care business' and no patient care ombudsman shall be appointed."

It appears Egemonu is now a radiology technician in Southern California. Someone by that unusual name has a tech's license there.

The I-Team telephoned a man who answered to that name, but when asked questions about Seven Hills Radiology, he told the I-Team calling him was a mistake and hung up.

If you were a patient at Seven Hills Radiology and are concerned about your records, you can call the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health at (702) 486-6515 and dial "0" when you get the answering machine.

The incident is being referred to federal officials to determine if patient privacy laws were violated by any health care workers.

Chinasa Egemonu

Green Valley Deals