HOUSTON More than 1,000 patients waiting for organ transplants are on edge after a laptop belonging to Methodist Hospital was stolen late last week.
One of those patients, Tamra Mires, is not just worried about identity theft, but her life.
For Mires, life is all about waiting. There is a routine of pills and dialysis, eight hours of it each and every day.
She has been on the waiting list for a new kidney for more than two years now, so imagine her anticipation when she recently got a late night call from Methodist Hospital.
I thought maybe they were going to tell me I have a kidney, Mires said.
What they told her instead was that her personal information had been stolen.
Methodist confirms a laptop and files containing personal information on 1,300 patients have been stolen. The information included birth dates, social security numbers and some medical information.
There has been no word on how they were stolen.
Methodist issued the following statement:
We diligently handle and protect thousands of patient records every day. We deeply regret this incident occurred and are taking additional measures to protect and assist our patients. It s offering the effected patients a free-one year subscription to an identity theft protection service.
What concerns Mires' family is how indentity theft might affect her eligibility for a transplant.
If for some reason her identity was stolen what would happen is she might lose the ability to prove to them she s financially responsible for whatever needs she might have after she gets the transplant, Tanya Richardson, Mires sister, said.
If that happens, she fears she ll be taken off the waiting list.
I m very nervous and scared, Mires said.
She s worked hard. She s worked hard to get as far as she has with this. She s only got one kidney. She s got to have one, Richardson said.
If Mires does not get a kidney transplant, she could be on dialysis for the rest of her life.