Doctor slams ‘outrageous breach of patient confidentiality’ at Holles Street
THE Clinical Director of the National Maternity Hospital has described a newspaper report detailing the reasons behind a woman’s abortion as “outrageous”.
The Irish Times this morning reported that a woman at Holles Street recently underwent the first termination under the provisions of new abortion legislation.
“It is absolutely unacceptable for a patient details to be splashed around the front page of the newspaper,” says Dr Peter Boylan.
It is understood the termination took place a number of weeks ago due to the risk to the woman’s life and because the pregnancy was unviable.
The woman is said to be doing well.
Dr Boylan said he will be carrying out in-house investigations to find out the source of the story, adding that “it is not fair on patients to do this.”
“It is completely unethical,” he said.
“It’s outrageous. If it is a doctor [who gave out the information] they could well end up in front of the Medical Council.”
Under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, there are also reporting mechanisms put in place so that at the end of each year figures on the number of abortions will be available for the public.
But Dr Boylan said there are certain restrictions on this reporting. “Individual institutions will not be named for obvious reasons and patient confidentiality will be maintained,” he says.
“And to give the exact clinical details to a member of the press is absolutely unethical behaviour by any medical personnel,” he said.
“This is not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a serious professional.”
“We will not let any woman die in Holles St, we will give her the appropriate care. But we will not have her details splashed around the newspapers.”
The case was similar to the case of Savita Halappanavar in that the patient was showing signs of sepsis. It is understood that the woman is now recovering well.
By Louise Kelly