ML was admitted to a psychiatric facility, where she alleges that she was assaulted by two other patients. In her action against the the facility for failing to ensure her safety, she sought unusual occurrence reports (UORs) related to the alleged incidents and the medical records of the two other patients (who were not parties to the litigation): ML v Homewood Health Centre Inc., 2011 ONSC 4790 [Link available here].
Ricchetti J agreed that the records were necessary to advance the litigation, ordering disclosure of redacted copies of the UORs. The medical records were more of a problem: disclosure would breach the privacy rights of the alleged assailants (who were unaware of ML’s claim), but simply redacting their names offered insufficient protection of those rights and posed practical problems. The judge had no choice but to order disclosure on notice to the two other patients. Further problem, though: ML did not know their identities. Given that ML did not appear to be using the claim primarily to obtain third-party health information, the facility was ordered to disclose the names to her so that the non-parties could be put on notice, subject to conditions. To have the facility serve the notice would be cumbersome and could create a conflict between the facility and its patients.