A laptop is stolen from Houston’s Methodist Hospital, containing confidential information on as many as 1,300 transplant patients who visited the hospital.

Officials say the encrypted laptop and some paper files were taken on Thursday.  They are working with Houston Police to recover the stolen data, which included patient names, birth dates and social security numbers. 

Houston Methodist is contacting the affected patients, offering them a one-year free subscription to an identity theft protection service.  They released a statement Friday:

"We have learned that an encrypted laptop and some paper files containing personal information on 1,300 transplant patients at Houston Methodist Hospital were stolen yesterday. That information included names, social security numbers, dates of birth and some medical information for transplant patients. We sincerely apologize for this incident and we are doing everything we can to protect our patients’ private information. After we were notified of the theft, we immediately contacted the Houston Police Department and we are performing a comprehensive investigation. We are also reporting this matter to the Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with federal law.

We are in the process of contacting each patient and offering a one-year free subscription to an identity theft protection service and we encourage these patients to use the service as soon as possible.

At Methodist we take a patient’s right to privacy very seriously - we diligently handle and protect thousands of patient records every day and we have a variety of safeguards to protect patient information. We deeply regret this incident occurred and are taking additional measures to protect and assist our patients.

Patients who need assistance are welcome to call 713-441-1001."