Houston doctor accused of taking Texas Children's Hospital patient information on transgender care

"He's been out there very publicly for months, maintaining his innocence that he did nothing wrong," the doctor's attorney said.

Pooja Lodhia Image
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Doctor accused of taking private patient information on trans care
A Houston doctor and self-proclaimed transgender care whistleblower is accused of illegally obtaining Texas Children's Hospital patient information.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- He calls himself a whistleblower, but federal prosecutors claim he lied to gain access to children's private health information illegally.

Eithan Haim has pleaded not guilty to four federal charges alleging he got into the Texas Children's Hospital electronic system in order to cause malicious harm.

Federal prosecutors describe a dangerous scheme where Haim allegedly lied about needing private patient information, saying he would be treating these patients in the future.

Then, once he got it, they claimed he sent that protected information to a conservative media activist.

Haim is still working as a surgeon at a rural hospital just outside of Dallas, according to his attorney, Ryan Patrick.

In multiple interviews and articles, Haim has defended himself, claiming he released information about the transgender care program at Texas Children's Hospital to prove the hospital was secretly providing gender-affirming care.

Transgender care was legal at the time, but hospital staff had said they weren't doing it.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Houston doctor accused of obtaining children's medical records without authorization

According to court documents, Haim was previously a medical resident at Baylor College of Medicine and trained at Texas Children's Hospital.

"Because of his position as a doctor, he is a mandatory reporter," Patrick said. "He's been out there very publicly for months, maintaining his innocence that he did nothing wrong."

His hospital login credentials expired in 2021, but two years later, he allegedly emailed the hospital and said he urgently needed access.

From there, prosecutors say he accessed the system remotely, making it more difficult to track. He then shared information with a media activist, who published the names of physicians, specific treatments, and the ages of children receiving treatments.

Prosecutors say Haim grossly mischaracterized the hospital's procedures.

Since then, transgender care has been banned for children in the state of Texas, though major medical organizations and U.S. federal health organizations like the CDC do support it.

"Dr. Haim believes he was a whistleblower, and he was bringing forth information where Texas Children's was not being truthful, in his opinion," Patrick said. "What's interesting is that the Department of Justice has now, for years, been talking about and incentivizing whistleblowers to come forward in all sorts of industries. Yet, in this case, they have decided to indict a whistleblower."

Haim does not have a criminal history. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Eyewitness News has reached out to Texas Children's Hospital multiple times for comment but has not received a response.

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