Skip to content
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change your settings or learn more here.
OK
Image: Shutterstock/losbkru

HSE to investigate alleged leak of patient's details after abortion at Dublin maternity hospital

A message shared on Twitter alleges a woman was contacted via an unknown number and verbally harassed.
Jan 31st 2019, 12:33 PM 88,416 91

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has said he is concerned by allegations raised on social media about an alleged leak of patient details affecting a woman who had a medical abortion in Dublin this week.

A message shared on Twitter alleges that a woman who had a medical abortion in a Dublin maternity hospital was later contacted by someone using a phone number linked to a rogue abortion counselling service that the HSE has warned against. 

The message – which was originally published in a Facebook group but screengrabbed and shared on Twitter – says that following the woman’s termination, she had an internal scan and was sent home from the hospital. She was told no other scans would be needed. 

According to the message, when she arrived home that day she received a call from a number unknown to her and was told by a man to re-book in for a scan. 

The message says that the man who called her had her personal details such as her name and address. The number he called from is linked to an unofficial website which has a similar name to the official HSE ‘My Options’ site. 

It’s claimed she was told to come in for a scan, and later received a text message telling her to go to a clinic on the northside of the city. 

The woman, according to the message shared on social media, said she felt something was strange, so she called the Well Woman Clinic and the hospital. They did not know anything about the phone call or the scan, according to the message shared on Twitter yesterday. 

The woman called the number back, and asked the man who he was, the message says. He said he was from ‘My Options’ but then allegedly started to shout abuse at the woman, telling her how “disgusting” she was for having a termination and asking if she knew about the risks. 

The person who shared the message anonymously said they were doing so to highlight the case and to ensure more women and girls did not get taken in.

A spokesperson for Minister Harris told TheJournal.ie

He has asked the HSE to investigate the alleged breach of patient information. 
The Minister has been quite clear abortion services should be viewed as a normalised part of the health service and women accessing that service should not be subjected to any intimidation or harassment.

When asked for a comment earlier, the HSE said: “We’re not in a position to comment at this time.”

TheJournal.ie attempted to contact the rogue counselling service connected with the number by phone several times, but there was no response. A reporter also called to a building linked to the number, but the door wasn’t answered.  

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner was also contacted for comment, and attempts have been made to contact the author of the message. 

In response, the head of communications for the Data Protection Commissioner said it became aware of the alleged incident through the media coverage today. 

“We are currently making enquiries. We will be making no further comment at this time.”

Last month, when abortion services came on stream the HSE said it was aware of a number of websites and advertisements appearing in online search results for unplanned pregnancy support that have a similar name to its official site. 

It recommended that women searching for support for an unplanned pregnancy visit only a recognised or HSE-funded unplanned pregnancy counselling agency.

‘Hidden agenda’

The Health Service Executive also advised people that a number of unplanned pregnancy agencies “may have a hidden agenda”.

“We are aware of a number of websites and ads that are appearing in search results and social media that claim to be providing unplanned pregnancy support services under variations of the myoptions name,” a spokesperson said. 

“Some unreliable agencies may not be upfront about their intentions and may try to influence a person’s decision,” it warned.

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy, Stephen McDermott and Daragh Brophy 

Send a tip to the author

Christina Finn

COMMENTS (91)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

     
    cancel reply
    Back to top