Kirsten and Don Borgeson said they could hardly believe it when they moved into a retired doctor’s rental home in Brentwood.
After settling in, they began to move their belongings into a storage area in the garage and found thousands of medical records of women.
“Not for a couple months did we stop and look and see these are actually womens’ personal data, medical history, they're OBGYN files,” Kirsten Borgeson said. “Everything from STDs, AIDS patients, chlamydia, gonorrhea, any family history with drug use.”
The couple weren’t comfortable that previous renters and various repair crews could have had access to the files, and asked the home’s owner, Dr. Molly Chatterjee, to remove them.
The Borgesons said Chatterjee told them to just move them aside.
Then, the Borgesons talked to their next-door neighbor Frederike Statum, who said she too had seen the files.
Statum confirmed to the News4 I-Team that during Chatterjee’s estate sale, the files were on displayed in open cabinets in the garage and several people went through them.
“We were literally scared. We said, ‘We shouldn't be looking at them. That's private," Statum said.
At that point, the Borgeson’s decided to take an unusual move: they packed up the records, rented a secure storage space, locked up the documents and filed a complaint with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
There are so many records, they completely cover the base of the storage unit.
“We just wanted to know they were safe and not exposed any further while we had the property. We decided it was in the best interest of all these women to take these and put them in safekeeping,” Kirsten Borgeson said.
When the Borgesons moved out in May, they decided not to return the files and keep them locked up, waiting until the federal government determined what should be done next.
Chatterjee filed a police report with Brentwood police, claiming that the Borgeson’s stole her belongings.
In the police report, Chatterjee said she kept all the documents in a briefcase and did keep the storage area in the garage locked, but the fuse box was inside and allowed tenants to store belongings in that area.
Chatterjee told the News4 I-Team that the records were protected and that she was supposed to keep the records for ten years.
Chatterjee retired in 2011.
“They were in locked boxes, they were inside a locked room,” Chatterjee said.
State law reads that doctors must keep adults’ medical records for ten years and keep them secure, but the law does not dictate how the records are to be kept.
The Borgesons and Statum both dispute they were ever locked away.
While a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said they could not comment on an open investigation, the Borgeson’s attorney said the federal agency dictated that the family was to release the records back to Dr. Chatterjee.
But the Borgesons refused, claiming that they don’t feel Chatterjee will keep them secure.
For now, the records remain in the locked storage unit in Brentwood.
“What would these poor women do if these poor women knew that their files were exposed?” Kristen Borgeson said.
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