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Northern Ireland woman shocked after receiving medical records of strangers

By Mary Kennedy

A Londonderry woman has described how she was left “in complete and utter shock” when she was mistakenly sent the medical records of two strangers.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust confirmed it had carried out a full investigation into the incident which left Cathy Malcolm “violated”.

Ms Malcolm made the shocking  discovery last July, when she was sent her own records along with the records of two other people.

Speaking yesterday, she said the incident left her annoyed as she was not only sent other people’s names, but also their hospital numbers and contact details.

She said she discovered the information of the first patient as she read through her own file.

“As I was reading the notes it hit me half way down that this was not me,” she told BBC Radio Foyle.

“There was quite sensitive information about this particular person.”

She then contacted the trust to return the notes — only to then discover more information relating to yet another patient.

“It was the same scenario, I was reading through my notes and discovering that this wasn’t me,” she added.

“I was in complete and utter shock.

“The thing that surprised me in the case of finding person two, was the way it was presented.

“It was basically an A4 sheet with my information on one half and the other person’s on the second half.”

Ms Malcolm said that although the notes were returned, her trust has been broken.

“As much as I was struggling with how I was feeling, all I could think about was these two poor people,” she added.

Ms Malcolm said that wondering if her own notes had been shared with anyone else had caused her “massive anxiety”.

“I am satisfied from the perspective that the trust has done its investigation and are making changes,” she said.

“But the missing piece of the jigsaw is that I had asked for support when it happened last July.”

The Western Trust said it treats the confidentiality of patient records very seriously.

A spokesperson said: “The trust can confirm that there was a recent incident and in line with the trust’s Incident Reporting policy this has fully investigated and remedial action taken.”

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