Irish hospital condemns leak over first abortion since new law passed

Irish hospital condemns leak over first abortion since new law passed

Clinical director says leak is unethical after newspaper publishes details of procedure without naming woman involved

Revelations about the first legal termination of a pregnancy in an Irish hospital since abortion law reforms were passed this summer have prompted allegations that the privacy of the woman involved has been violated.

Doctors at the Holles Street national maternity hospital in Dublin described the leak of details of the procedure as outrageous. The Irish Times, which revealed news of the termination, stressed it had not identified the woman.

The termination, which was legal under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, is understood to have been carried out a number of weeks ago.

Criticising the leak, the clinical director of the hospital, Dr Peter Boylan, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for a patient’s details to be splashed around the front page of the newspaper.” He said he would try to find the source of the story. “It is not fair on patients to do this. It is completely unethical. It’s outrageous,” he said. “If it is a doctor [who gave out the information], they could well end up in front of the medical council.

“Individual institutions will not be named for obvious reasons and patient confidentiality will be maintained. And to give the exact clinical details to a member of the press is absolutely unethical behaviour by any medical personnel. This is not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a serious professional.”

The hospital is one of 25 in the Republic authorised to carry out terminations under the provisions of the new law. The procedure was permitted under section 7, which deals with the risk of loss of life of a woman from physical illness.

• This article was amended on Friday 23 August after incorrectly stating that the Irish Times named the woman.

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