Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is notifying 44,000 emergency department patients of a possible breach of their personal health information.

The hospital was the victim of an identity theft ring, which the U.S. Postal Service has been investigating for several months. A hospital employee in the ED stole as many as 1,500 pre-printed patient data sheets that included such information as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and initial diagnosis. "This was not a compromise of the computer systems that the hospital uses to protect patient information," the hospital contends in a statement. "Through cooperation with a federal investigation, Holy Cross identified the individual involved, who admitted improper conduct and was immediately terminated."

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