RALEIGH — Patients who had X-rays at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic before 2008 are being urged to keep an eye on their bank statements and credit reports after 17,300 sets of X-rays vanished.
A company the practice hired in January to convert X-ray films to electronic files never returned the materials, according to a letter sent to clinic patients. Instead, the X-rays are thought to have been resold for the value of the silver they contain, said Constance Scott, the clinic’s security officer.
“We have reported it to the police,” Scott said, declining to name the company.
The identifying information on the X-rays included only patients’ full names and dates of birth.
“Raleigh Ortho does not believe that any other individually identifiable information was on the X-rays,” the company said in a statement. “Nevertheless, Raleigh Ortho has recommended that the patients remain vigilant by reviewing their account statements and monitoring their credit reports.”
The practice determined in March that it had been “the victim of a scam,” the statement says, in which the records were resold to a company that harvested the silver, then destroyed the film, clinic officials said. X-rays may contain as much 2 percent of their weight in silver, which now sells for about $24.50 an ounce.
Raleigh Orthopaedic has five offices and a surgery center in Wake County. Patients who have questions can contact Scott at 800-358-5735.
Last year, police found X-rays from 38 medical facilities, including some from North Carolina, in the possession of two South Carolina men who had posed as recycling company employees, according to the online medical news site MedCityNews.com.
The N.C. Hospitals Association does not have specific guidelines for the disposal of X-rays, said spokesman Don Dalton.