A pharmacist's separation from her husband because of his "extra-marital activities" led to her repeatedly access his new partner's medical records, often using colleagues' log ins.
The pharmacist, whose name is suppressed, also accessed the records of her former husband and daughter multiple times without authority, according to findings of the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.
In 2016 she accessed her daughter's records twice, in 2017 she accessed her ex-husband's records twice and his new partner's eight times. On seven of those occasions she used colleagues' log-ins while they were away from their computer.
The tribunal was made aware of the "traumatic events" that had led to the separation. Reference was made to the pharmacist's anxiety about her daughter's care and her having become "obsessive" and reacting compulsively when her former husband's new partner arrived at her workplace.
Her former husband also had the pharmacist placed under surveillance and arrested which led to a three-week period in which she had no contact with her daughter. The charges were abruptly dropped due to "lack of evidence".
During this time the pharmacist had to adjust to her role as a solo mother and to
having shared custody of her daughter. Her former husband's new partner had part-time care for her daughter and lived in the former matrimonial home.
It was during the mother's work as a pharmacist that she incidentally accessed the new partner's records when she recognised the address on the file.
It was said she wanted to know if she needed to be concerned about her daughter living with her ex-husband's partner and that was why she accessed her records.
The pharmacist told the tribunal she knew what she was doing was wrong but stayed on the pages about her daughter and the new partner because "she thought to herself that that used to be her address, that used to be her home and that used to be her family home".
The tribunal heard that the pharmacist also accessed the partner's health records simply "out of an obsession with [her], born out of her anxiety and depressive symptoms".
The pharmacist said she accessed her daughter's records because her former husband told her she was sick and would not be going to school but provided no more information. When a colleague left a computer logged on she took the opportunity to review her daughter's health records.
The tribunal said access to her daughter's records was understandable but could have been made perfectly legitimately through appropriate sources. She chose, however,
to access them inappropriately, using colleagues' log-ons.
"Curiosity about the health position of her former husband, the father of her daughter, is also to be understood but she had no business to know this and certainly not by making the inquiries of the records in the way that she did.
"She also had no business to know the health records of her former husband's partner and there are significant privacy issues in her having accessed those records in the way that she did," the tribunal said.
Because of this the pharmacist was censured and ordered to pay $1000 towards the costs of the tribunal hearing.