The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has launched an investigation into how hospital photos taken of a woman who was allegedly chopped by her 15- year- old son made its way onto social media.
The graphic photos, showing the woman’s severed hand and gaping wounds to her head, face and shoulder, have made their rounds across Facebook and WhatsApp in the past week.
They appeared to show a badly injured woman on a hospital bed or stretcher.
The woman in the photos is believed to have been chopped by her son in Central Trinidad on April 19th after she took away his cell phone.
After a week in police custody, the teenager was released because of lack of evidence.
His mother has not given the police a statement and is unwilling to press charges.
The SWRHA on Sunday said the matter was of concern as it related to patient privacy, and an investigation was launched to ascertain the details surrounding the release of these images.
The SWRHA said it is guided by the Patient Charter of Rights and Obligations, adding that it recognizes its first and foremost duty is to its patients – which includes protecting patients privacy and guaranteeing confidentiality of medical care.
The Authority said it will “treat with the matter appropriately”.
Meanwhile, the Children’s Authority has also appealed to the public to refrain from “sharing via social media and other platforms, the identity of the boy suspected of chopping his mother.”
In a statement released yesterday, the Authority said: “As an advocate for the rights of all children, the Authority’s overall objective is to provide care and protection for children regardless of their circumstances.
The Authority noted that sharing the identity of the child can create further trauma to the child and his family, thereby making rehabilitation difficult.
The Authority is calling on the public to remove all images of the child and his family from their social media accounts.
Speaking with News Power Now this morning Chairman of the Children’s Authority, Haniff Benjamin, acknowledged that while it is not illegal to share the images, one must consider more than just legal ramifications in a matter of this nature.
He said that while he understands the seriousness of the allegations against the teen and the emotions that the situation has raised, the Authority’s main concern is ensuring his protection.
He was asked whether or not the parents of the teen would accept help from the Authority as the Minister of National security revealed in parliament last week Friday that the parents had refused any assistance.
Mr. Benjamin held that that he was unsure of the nature of the information given to the Minister as any interaction the Authority had with the boy and his family would have to remain confidential.