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Video of patient being encouraged to leave hospital against advice prompts 'concern'

A spokesperson for the hospital urged anyone with concerns about care to get in contact.

A screengrab from the video.
A screengrab from the video.

Updated Sep 16th 2021, 9:00 AM

A HOSPITAL IN Donegal has asked families of patients to get in contact if they have any concerns about care after a video of an anti-Covid campaigner encouraging a patient to leave the hospital against medical advice went viral on social media.

In the clip the patient, who is using a wheelchair and appears to know the campaigner, is seen being encouraged to leave Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH).

The campaigner says in the video, which he is also filming, that he has been in contact with another activist who supported him in his attempt to encourage the patient to exit the hospital.

The Journal understands there are concerns among healthcare staff that the incident could be replicated elsewhere in the country.

In the video, a member of the medical staff at LUH can be heard saying to the man: “You have the right to decide what you want to do. But I don’t think what [the campaigner] is saying is right.”

He added, “You’re barely able to breathe there now. And we want you to stay so we can help you.”

The person who recorded the video also said he would make more videos that would help to provide campaigners with the legal justification for similar actions. In posts on social media, the person also claimed the patient was being treated for Covid-19, but those claims have not been verified. 

The campaigner also provided a template legal letter on one of his social media pages, which he said will allow patients to be removed from hospitals.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Saolta Hospital Group — of which LUH is a member — told The Journal that it cannot comment on individual cases because of medical confidentiality.

However, they added that patients should directly contact the hospital if they have concerns or question about care.

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“Maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is not only an ethical requirement for the HSE and all HSE funded hospitals; it is also a legal requirement as defined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) along with the Data Protection Acts 1988 – 2018,” the spokesperson said.

“When a patient or family makes personal information public, this does not relieve the HSE and all HSE funded hospitals of its duty to preserve/uphold patient confidentiality at all times. 

“If patients or families have concerns or questions in relation to the care they can contact the hospital directly to discuss further.”

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