'Illegal' exchange of med student's records between university, hospital prompts lawsuit

HOUSTON -- Jason Shurb alleges the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston-School of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital jeopardized his pursuit of a medical degree.

A lawsuit filed Feb. 4 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas claims the school failed to accommodate his disability as well as removed him from classes after acquiring apparent misinformation about the plaintiff from the hospital, which had him as a patient.

Patricia E. Carver, the director of Admissions and Student Affairs at the university; Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, the school's dean; Margaret C. McNeese, the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs; and numerous unidentified individuals are co-defendants in the litigation.

Shurb, 26, enrolled at the university in 2009 after graduating summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.

Upon matriculating at the institution in question, the plaintiff, who suffers from certain mental ailments and migraines, joined its Alternative Pathway program that splits the first year of studies into two years on the advice of one of the assistant deans.

The original petition explains that Shurb first sought an accommodation in one of his classes, and despite his continuous requests, the professor failed to respond, adding the complainant and his mother wrote to Colasurdo to no avail.

In September 2011, Shurb was hospitalized at Methodist for almost a week because of an illness.

According to the suit, a physician accused him of attempting suicide from observing certain bruises on his person, even remarking he supposedly drank antifreeze.

It states that rumors of Shurb purportedly inflicting his condition upon himself "began to spread" around Methodist and apparently all the way back to the school.

"While at the hospital, the medical staff was in communication with university personnel," the suit says.

"Without his permission or consent, Shurb’s confidential medical information records were shared with university personnel by the hospital."

Shurb was discharged without any special medical or mental health considerations, and he went back to school for approximately 12 days before officials with the university's student affairs department forced him to leave on Sept. 28, 2011, the original petition states.

The plaintiff shows the school made him leave because it thought he "was a danger to himself or others," but insists its reasoning was based on "illegally" provided information.

He was told to provide a note stating he was mentally fit though the conditions "were without merit and intruded on his private medical and mental health records" and "in retaliation for both he and his mother strongly advocating on his behalf for accommodations in his educational plan."

Shurb's attempts to comply with what he labels the school's "draconian" conditions were unsuccessful as his efforts resulted in excessive absences and his ultimate withdrawal from a semester in the spring of 2012, the suit says.

Consequently, the complainant seeks a minimum of $75,000 and a jury trial.

Attorney Jason J. Bach of Austin is representing Shurb.

Case No. 4:13-CV-271

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