A UK hospital has sacked a member of staff and disciplined another after the medical records of global music sensation Ed Sheeran were accessed after he sought care for breaking both arms last year.
According to the BBC, Ipswich Hospital sacked a member of the administration staff, while a medical staff member was given a written warning after Sheeran’s October hospitalisation.
The guitarist had broken his right wrist and left elbow, and at the time told his Instagram followers he’d had "a bit of a bicycle accident".
In a response to a Freedom of Information request, Ipswich Hospital said the staff members had "accessed patient information without legitimate or clinical reason".
Neither were referred to professional bodies.
Some hospital staff had also asked the Shape of You singer to sign autographs and pose for photographs while he was at the facility for treatment.
Following Sheeran’s visit, the hospital launched a review into care provided to high profile patients, including "confidentiality, privacy of the patient and their loved ones, and practical considerations".
Spotify’s most streamed artist of 2017, the chart-topping musician’s album ÷ was named last year’s best-selling album worldwide.
His injuries forced the star to cancel or postpone several dates on his Asian tour. Returning to the stage in Singapore later in the year, he told the crowd the past six weeks had been the most depressing of his life.
Sheeran isn’t the only celebrity to have had his electronic patient records accessed.
In October 2007, Palisades Medical Center in the US suspended 27 workers for a month without pay for breaching the medical records of actor George Clooney, following his treatment there for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
UCLA Health System workers accessed the records of pop singer Britney Spears and others in 2008, with one former employee convicted of selling the medical information of actress Farrah Fawcett as she battled the cancer that would take her life in 2009.
Following pop superstar Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, unauthorised staff – including medical students, contractors and employees – accessed his death certificate more than 300 times. Two hospital staff members and two contract workers lost their jobs and UCLA was fined $95,000.
In 2011, the UCLA Health System agreed to pay $865,000 to settle HIPAA privacy violations at its three hospitals.
Six medical workers were also fired in 2013 for allegedly trying to access Kim Kardashian’s medical records from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after she gave birth to a daughter with her husband, rapper Kanye West.