It's back: Stolen Beaumont Hospitals laptop recovered

Beaumont Hospitals Thursday announced the recovery of a laptop missing since Aug. 5 when a Home Care nurse's car was stolen in Detroit.

The computer's hard drive was examined by an independent forensic computer expert, who determined that patient information on the computer was not accessed during the time it was missing, according to the hospital.

"We are so relieved to recover the laptop so that we can put our patients' minds at rest," Chris Hengstebeck, director of Security at Beaumont Hospital in Troy Michigan, said in the statement. "And we are relieved that no one's personal or medical information was accessed."

A resident of the area where the laptop was stolen called Hengstebeck after hearing news reports on Tuesday about the theft. The information led to the laptop's recovery and Beaumont is giving the anonymous resident a US$2,500 reward.

The computer, which contains personal and health information of 28,000 Home Care patients served during the three years leading up to Aug. 5, 2006, was in a bag in the back seat of the Home Care nurse's car when the auto was stolen. The hospital will not reveal whether the nurse was male or female.

The laptop does not contain information on in-patients or other outpatients of the Beaumont Hospitals, and the centralized registration and medical records of Beaumont were never at risk from this theft, according to Beaumont. The computer only contains information related to Home Care patients, including patient names, addresses, birth dates, medical insurance information, Social Security numbers and personal health information related to their home care services, the hospital said.