Europe

Probe into Irish 'abortion patient details leak'

woman on phone Image copyright mihailomilovanovic
Image caption A message shared on Twitter alleged the woman was contacted by someone outside the medical profession after a termination in Dublin earlier this week

The Republic of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) is investigating reports of an alleged leak of an abortion patient's details.

A message shared on Twitter claimed that a woman who had a medical abortion in a Dublin maternity hospital this week was later contacted by someone outside the medical profession.

The number was said to be linked to a rogue abortion counselling service.

The woman published a message about her experience in a Facebook group.

Her post, which was subsequently screen grabbed and shared on Twitter, said that following her termination, the woman 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 book another scan.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The woman was discharged from hospital and told no other scans would be needed

The message suggested that the man who called her knew her name and address. The number he called from was allegedly linked to an unofficial website which has a name similar to the official HSE's "My Options" site.

It is claimed she was told to come in for a scan, and later received a text message telling her to go to a clinic in north Dublin.

'Disgusting'

The woman said she felt uneasy about the call, so she contacted 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.

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 her, saying she was "disgusting" for having a termination.

The person who shared the original message anonymously said they were doing so to highlight the case and to ensure more women and girls did not endure a similar experience.

'Establishing facts'

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive told BBC News NI: "The HSE takes any potential breach of confidential patient data very seriously and is establishing the facts surrounding this incident.

"We are aware of a number of websites and ads appearing on social media that claim to be providing unplanned pregnancy support services under variations of the myoptions name.

"We have been promoting the official myoptions.ie website and helpline online through search and social media, and will be doing this on an ongoing basis.

"The HSE is a trustworthy source and will ensure that women get the information they need about all their options regarding an unplanned pregnancy."

More on this story