Seven People Receive Bogus HIV-Positive Calls; 13-Year-Old Arrested
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ The 13-year-old daughter of a hospital clerk was arrested for allegedly calling people who visited the hospital’s emergency room and telling them they had the AIDS virus, police said today.
Tammy Lynn Esckilsen was arrested late Monday after a police officer, using a number that come up on a victim’s Caller ID, tracked her to her home address, police Sgt. Malcolm Adams said.
Adams said the girl had visited her mother at work over the weekend and took a list of patients and phone numbers home with her. She told police she made the calls as a prank, he said.
Esckilsen was charged with three counts of making threats, one count of assault and one count of aggravated assault. Adams said he did not know what the assault counts involved and the State Attorney’s Office did not immediately return a phone call seeking detail on the charges.
Hospital officials said seven patients treated in the emergency room over the weekend reported that they had received the prank calls.
One patient, 16-year-old Amy Bulmer, even had to be restrained from trying to kill herself when she received the phony test results, her family told The Florida Times-Union.
``She was hysterical. She went after a gun and was going to end it all,″ Bulmer’s mother, Shirley Veazie, said.
Relatives kept her from getting the gun. ``I wanted to kill myself,″ said Bulmer, who was also falsely notified that she was pregnant. ``My husband and Dad calmed me down.″
Jan Olson, a hospital spokeswoman, said the hospital will call all patients treated at the emergency room Friday through Sunday to make sure no one else received false information. She said the girl’s mother, a clerk at the hospital, could face dismissal for divulging confidential information to her daughter.
The hospital doesn’t conduct HIV tests in its emergency department and doesn’t give out lab results over the telephone, she said.
Bulmer went to the emergency room Saturday with a bladder infection. While she was there, she received a Pap smear and a pregnancy test.
On Sunday, a young woman called Veazie’s unlisted phone number, saying she was trying to reach Bulmer. According to Veazie, the caller said, ``Amy’s lab work is back, and I need to let you know that she’s HIV-positive. And she’s also pregnant. You knew that, didn’t you?″
After calling the hospital lab, however, the family learned Bulmer was not pregnant and had not been tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.