UCLA Medical Center Known for Leaking Info

Stricken celebrities tend to steer clear of this particular hospital, but in Michael Jackson's case, there was no other choice

By Michael Horowicz
|  Friday, Jun 26, 2009  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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Life and Times: Michael Jackson


June 25, 2009: Police are seen outside UCLA Medical Center, where Michael Jackson was taken in Los Angeles. Jackson died Thursday at age 50.

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They were both icons of the '70s and '80s. They both had bestselling posters that adorned the walls of millions of teenagers around the world. They both passed away on the same day. And now Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson have a much more macabre thing in common -- the UCLA Medical Center.

A hospital which has a reputation for leaking like a sieve.

Farrah Fawcett had fought her battle against anal cancer in private until her medical records were leaked by employees at UCLA Medical Center. Fawcett said she even went so far as to set up a sting operation to prove someone at UCLA was selling her medical records to the tabloids as far back as 2006. She then decided to take her brave cancer fight public.

Employees were fired, arrested or disciplined.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has also tried to clean up the widespread snooping at UCLA, especially after someone peeked into his wife Maria's private medical records.

The hospital has said it's cleaned up ts act. But it is still a common perception in Hollywood that UCLA is full of holes.

Stricken celebrities tend to steer clear of the place and would rather be taken to Cedars Sinai, or other hospitals in Burbank or Santa Monica. But in Jacko's case, he had no choice.

UCLA is a two-minute ride from his rented mansion in Holmby Hills. The King of Pop was in cardiac arrest. His only hope was to be rushed to the ER in Westwood. He was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. Just a few minutes later, TMZ.com reported his death.

It remains unclear who leaked the information about Jackson's death to TMZ after he was taken to the hospital.

For their part, UCLA Med. Center spokeswoman Roxanne Moster said in a statement, "UCLA Health System considers patient confidentiality a critical part of our mission of teaching, research and patient care. We’ve worked diligently over the past year to improve our privacy compliance program and will continue to focus efforts on this critical component of our mission."

She added, "We can’t undo the wrongs of the past. But we can -- and are – strengthening our efforts to improve our training and security systems."

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