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27 suspended for Clooney file peek

  • Story Highlights
  • 27 hospital staff suspended for viewing George Clooney's medical records
  • Clooney was treated at medical center after motorcycle accident
  • Star says he hope staff involved will not lose their jobs
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- More than two dozen employees at Palisades Medical Center have been suspended after accessing the personal medical records of actor George Clooney, who was taken to the North Bergen, N.J., hospital last month after a motorcycle accident.

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George Clooney was injured when his motorcycle was in collision with a car.

Clooney was injured, along with his companion Sarah Larson, when the motorcycle they were riding collided with a car in Weehawken, N.J. Clooney suffered a broken rib and skin abrasions and Larson broke her foot.

Hospital spokesman Eurice Rojas said late Tuesday that 27 employees were suspended for a month without pay, after an internal investigation. Accessing a person's medical records without authorization is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) -- a federal law that protects the privacy of patients.

"Palisades Medical Center, it's physicians and employees, adheres to a strong code of ethics that respects the privacy and confidentiality of all of our patients," a hospital statement said.

"Our commitment is to always conduct our behavior in the highest possible standards and any conduct that violates the trust of our patients and the high standards we set is taken very seriously and treated in a very serious manner."

On Tuesday, WCBS television in New York reported that employees were suspended after leaking Clooney's medical information to the press

"What these individuals did was violate a HIPAA regulation," Rojas explained. "We can not say that they actually released any of this information to the media. That is not what we have found internally."

In a statement released to the media, Clooney said "This is the first I've heard of it. And while I very much believe in a patients right to privacy, I would hope that this could be settled without suspending medical workers." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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