Texas doctor charged with taking private patient information on transgender care

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas doctor who calls himself a whistleblower on transgender care for minors is accused of illegally obtaining private information on patients from the nation's largest pediatric hospital who were not under his care.

Federal prosecutors said Dr. Eithan Haim, a 34-year-old surgeon, snatched the information and shared it with a conservative activist with “intent to cause malicious harm” to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Haim pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to four counts of wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information.

Haim, a Dallas surgeon, previously had done some work at Texas Children's Hospital as part of his residency. The indictment against Haim alleges that in 2023, he asked to reactivate his login there to access information on pediatric patients not under his care, including names, attending physicians and treatment codes, then turned over the information to a media contact.

Haim has publicly identified himself as the person who gave the information about patients at Texas Children's to a conservative activist, who published a story that the hospital was providing transgender care for minors in secret. At the time, transgender care for minors was legal in Texas, but the hospital had announced in 2022 that it would stop would stop gender-affirming therapies.

Texas lawmakers banned transgender care for minors in September 2023. That law is being challenged in court. At least 25 states have adopted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, and most of those states face lawsuits.

Haim faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. He was released on $10,000 bond.

“I have maintained from day one that I have done nothing wrong. We’re going to fight this tooth and nail, stand up for whistleblowers everywhere,” Haim said outside the courthouse Monday.

Texas Children’s declined to comment on the charges against Haim. In previous statements, hospital officials said its doctors have always provided care within the law.