Natives Against Racism


My name is Larry Langford, I am the Director of Media Affairs for the Chicago Fire Department.
I have looked at the facebook screen shots that you were able to capture on your web site. I have also read the Chicago Staff Infection story.
I have looked into this matter and I am told that a Department investigator spoke with you.
Many of the comments that are from "Chicago Rescue Workers" are from people who show their address as Chicago but are not in anyway associated with the Chicago Fire Department. We have blown up the photos that appeared on Facebook and now captured by you site and I am able to report to you that the people in those pictures with Mr. Cornstalks are NOT members of the Chicago Fire Department. We have been able to examine the clothing worn and we can see that the insignia, colors and numbers which become visible under heavy magnification are NOT those worn or used by the Chicago Fire Department. The comment about the screen saver is made from a person who is NOT a member of the Chicago fire department and refers to the "FD". Even this person makes no direct reference to the  actual City of Chicago municipal  Fire Department.
I realize that it is easy to make the leap from Chicago area to the actual Chicago fire department, and I know that you would want to know that these people are NOT with our department. The one exception I can find is the comment made about the church, the wine and Mr .Cornstalks being removed by Ambulance 17. The name used to post that comment is that of a CFD ambulance crew member and we are aggressively working to investigate that as a possible HIPAA violation. We take any such charges very seriously.
The locations given in the posts  except for the church comments seem to speak of the suburban area surrounding Chicago and the Hospitals mentioned are south of our city in the suburban Cook County. The Chiago Fire Department covers  the City of Chicago only, we do not cover the suburbs unless its a major multi-agency disaster.. We do not extend into the County for normal EMS patient pick up.
Based on your posts, the casual reader would think that this is a Chicago Fire Department issue . Other than our desire to investigate the ambulance 17  remark, we do not seem to have any involvement whatsoever. The posts I have been able to review speak of private ambulance companies and suburban paid and volunteer departments for the most part.
The posts that are shown as being from Chicago should not be associated with the Chicago Fire Department just because they show they are from the  Chicago area. The great majority of the locations given regarding where Mr. Cornstalks was picked up are intersections or places that are far outside the City of Chicago. I realize that you would not be familiar with these locations and would not be able to determine how close they are to the actual City of Chicago.
I also need to expand upon some of the things Commander Knight said ( I am his boss)
The computers in the 100 fire houses in Chicago are on a locked network and access to such things as input to the screen saver mode for addition of outside media is prohibited. In short, the screens can only show the Microsoft default screen saver or an image loaded by the CFD IT department.
Our station based computers cannot access social sites such as Facebook or My Space. I spent the better part of yesterday going over every post I could find on your site and cannot find anything other than the ambulance 17 remark that can be attributed to one of our members as being derogatory or in bad taste.
I understand your concerns over the issues you raise with regard to Mr Cornstalks treatment and privacy, however please understand that your site is making it seem like the Chicago Fire Department is deeply involved. Your posting of our Commissioner's contact information along with that of Mayor Daley makes it appear that we have some authority or control over the  pictures that you have captured.
Again, just to be clear. The pictures do not show CFD personnel based on our forensic study of the pictures themselves, and other than the ambulance 17 comment, the  suspect posts are not from members of the Chicago Fire Department based on the names used. ( but we are still checking that closely, we have 5000 members)  I would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you at length as I understand your concerns very well.
Feel free to post this on your site if you wish. You may call me at my office at 312 745 4213 and we can chat further.
Larry Langford
Chicago Fire Department

Chicago - Official Response

7/21/09  Mr. Knight claims that there is only one Chicago fire fighter on the comments and he did not say anything that violates HIPAA. He also states that this could not have been done on fire department time or a fire department computer.

07/21/09 Mr. Knight claims at 3:02 p.m. that there were four officers and the picture was not taken in Chicago at all.  He also stated facebook has first amendment protection, protecting the officers, officers he claims have said nothing racist.

And they have not violated confidentiality because the photos weren't taken in Chicago
on employee time or using employee computers. 

"Whats the Record for most
CC pickups in one shift?" 

Ben Hansen Chicago IL Bobbie Heft Eggert Chicago IL and Augie Bamonti Chicago IL
thats three - add 7 in the firefighter photo with Cornstalk = 10 Add site creator = 11
Screensaver Employee Testimony + 1

Using that philosophy - We still count min 12.  Not four.

So are you allowed to wear a uniform off-duty?

Eggart of the Fire Department is clearly quoted as using the photo as a joke screen saver on the Fire Department Computer

On the question of HIPAA, there is also Mandatory Reporter Guidelines that also govern off-duty officials who are mandated to report a patient if they are in danger.  These also apply to patient confidentiality.  Even if you are no longer working as a Mandatory Reporter,


Kevin Collinge  Today at 8:16pm (Did you know him?)
I already know the answer to my question, you do not have the first clue of who he was,nor do you have any idea of what all of these people went through to help him. You never splinted his fractured bones from when he was injured or held the bucket for him while he was sick.Didnt see you doing CPR on him on one of the several times he arrested..Did you help him find a warm place to sleep when it was cold? You were not there when we all attended the funeral services. Novelty? Chris was a friend to us and we miss him. Chris often referred to himself as the drunken Indian.. The biggest racist here is yourself ...all about freedom of speech unless someone says something that pisses you off....enjoy your permanant block and get a life...

City of Chicago Says
Multi-Agencies Discussing YOU
on a Social Network
is protected by the
1st Amendment-Patriot Act


Christie Drozd Zdzinicki
(Chicago IL) Creator
07/18 9:46 PMBelieve me, I know natives are not the only ones with problems.  It covers all races.  I don't know if you'll believe this or not, but I put the site up because I really liked this patient!  He was a total pain in the ass, but for the 100's of times you saw him in the year, he was nice.  And he had alcohol levels that should be in the record books.  It was just so interesting to have so many people from so many places take care of him.  I actually went to his funeral and it was full of EMS, police, nurses, and doctors.  His family was very appreciative of all of us taking care of him when they couldn't.  It was not meant to hurt anyone.  A lot of the stories ended with a good thing about him.  I received a lot of crazy e-mails from Canadians but you are the only one I am writing back to because it wasn't full of craziness.  So I'm sorry if I hurt you, but if you knew this guy, you would know it wasn't meant to hurt.  It really wasn't even about him being Native American, either.  It was just a guy with a problem that we all helped at one time or another.  And quite frankly I miss him. 

Editors note: Missing someone, liking them, DOES NOT give these professional people the right to discuss his medical condition, or his personal issues based on their professional opinion and in their dealings with this man on a PROFESSIONAL LEVEL, on a social networking site!

07/19 at 8:44 am
Now I am annoyed because I didn't read what you wrote about my name.  You must have posted on the site and I deleted it. 

I can title it whatever I want because I live in the greatest country in the world where the bravest soldiers in the world protect my freedom.  The fact is: he was an alcoholic and he was a Native American.  That is not racist, it's true.  And he taxes our emergency system for years.  Teach your children that sticks and stones may break your bones.  Teach them self confidence so they don't waste time on fb feeling insecure about what people THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW are saying about others they don't know.  And when you say you are not that, you should probably take a look in the mirror because obviously you are.


American Medical Association. 515 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60610. (312) 464-5000.

The AMA deal with breeches of Patient Confidentiality and they're listed on the link below along with the following information.

Confidentiality is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable medical information kept private. Such information should be available only to the physician of record and other health care and insurance personnel as necessary. As of 2003, patient confidentiality was protected by federal statute.

The passage of federal regulations (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) was prompted by the need to ensure privacy and protection of personal records and data in an environment of electronic medical records and third-party insurance payers.

Patient confidentiality means that personal and medical information given to a health care provider will not be disclosed to others unless the individual has given specific permission for such release.

Because the disclosure of personal information could cause professional or personal problems, patients rely on physicians to keep their medical information private. It is rare for medical records to remain completely sealed, however. The most benign breach of confidentiality takes place when clinicians share medical information as case studies. When this data is published in professional journals the identity of the patient is never divulged, and all identifying data is either eliminated or changed. If this confidentiality is breached in any way, patients may have the right to sue.

The greatest threat to medical privacy, however, occurs because most medical bills are paid by some form of health insurance, either private or public. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to keep information truly confidential. Health records are routinely viewed not only by physicians and their staffs, but by the employees of insurance companies, medical laboratories, public health departments, researchers, and many others. If an employer provides health insurance, the employer and designated employees may have access to employee files.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 requires all professionals and organizations to guard the privacy of their patients and customers. Individuals must provide written consent for any and all releases of medical or health-related information. Employees at all levels are required to maintain confidentiality. Similar policies have been in place for some time. This was a requirement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) to maintain accreditation. All confidentiality releases must identify the types of information that can be released, the people or groups that have been permitted access to the information, and limit the length of time for which the release is valid.

Before the enactment of HIPAA, despite having voluntary safeguards, patient confidentiality had eroded with the almost-complete dominance of health-maintenance organizations and other types of third-party payers. Confidentiality is essential for a good relationship between patient and practitioner, whose duty to keep information private stems from the Hippocratic Oath. If personal information is disseminated without the patient's permission, it can erode confidence in the medical profession and expose health care professionals to legal action.

Physicians are increasingly being sued by patients whose information has been released without their permission. Even though the plaintiffs do not always prevail, the costs of legal action are burdensome to both sides.

Each state and the federal government have enacted laws to protect the confidentiality of health care information generally, with particular attention paid to information about communicable diseases and mental health. For example, through the 1960s substance and alcohol abuse were treated as mental illnesses, with patient confidentiality determined by the laws in each state, since at the time the state was responsible for mental health care and treatment.

In the early 1970s, however, the rising numbers of those needing substance abuse treatment came to the attention of the federal government, because drug-related activity, including the treatment for substance abuse, could be the basis for criminal prosecution on a federal level. Congress concluded that this might stop individuals needing treatment from seeking it. HIPAA was enacted to provide a strict confidentiality law and limit disclosure of information that could reveal a patient's identity.

Confusion ensued when practitioners who were treating substance abusers were required to follow two practices for patient confidentiality. One set of requirements was mandated by the state. The federal government dictated the other. With the varying degrees of protection provided by state mental health laws, the confusion increased. While all states specify exceptions to confidentiality, few have spelled out the necessary elements of valid consent for disclosure of mental health information. Some states presently allow disclosure of the following types of mental health information without patient consent:
  • to other treatment providers
  • to health care services payers or other sources of financial assistance to the patient
  • to third parties that the mental health professional feels might be endangered by the patient
  • to researchers
  • to agencies charged with oversight of the health care system or the system's practitioners
  • to families under certain circumstances
  • to law enforcement officials under certain circumstances
  • to public health officials
Prior to 2003, providers had become increasingly concerned that these exceptions are not addressed uniformly, particularly when providers and payers conducted business across state lines. This resulted in open-ended disclosures that specify neither the parties to whom disclosure is to be made nor the specific information allowed to be revealed.

Both the ethical and the legal principles of confidentiality are rooted in a set of values regarding the relationship between caregiver and patient. It is essential that a patient trust a caregiver so that a warm and accepting relationship may develop. This is particularly true in a mental health treatment.

Normal results
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was enacted to address the issue of patient confidentiality. Full implementation of HIPAA regulations began in April 2003. If individuals and organizations having patient data adhere to the requirements of HIPAA, patient confidentiality will be enhanced.

HIPAA provides a uniform set of guidelines that apply to all providers and organizations. HIPAA requirements are not affected by state boundaries.