Sunday 18 August 2019

Tests reviewed after baby's misdiagnosis led to termination

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The National Maternity Hospital has embarked on a review of cases of unborn babies found to have a fatal foetal abnormality over the past 20 years to find out if they were correctly diagnosed.

A spokesman for the hospital revealed that so far, the ongoing examination had found no case where an initial laboratory test result for the fatal foetal anomaly trisomy 18 was different to a second reading.

The look-back was ordered following the tragic case of a couple in March who terminated a pregnancy in the hospital after a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test showed their baby had trisomy 18, known as Edwards syndrome, and would not survive.

But a later, more intensive karyotype test result, which they received after the procedure, showed the baby was healthy.

The distraught couple have since asked for a look-back to confirm if there were other similar cases.

A spokesman for the hospital told the Irish Independent: "We are in the process of looking back at CVS results over the past 20 years, and so far have found no case of discordant results between the QFPCR element and the full karyotype in relation to trisomy 18.

"Following any adverse outcome, we review relevant procedures and guidelines and are doing so in relation to this issue. Procedures and guidelines are constantly being updated."

An external review of the case is planned. However, the couple's solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said they believe it may not go far enough and a statutory inquiry may be needed.

The hospital spokesman said yesterday the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had said it will approach suitable overseas experts who could conduct an independent external review. "We hope to have progress on this in the near future," he said.

It is expected that the review will examine the procedures in place at the hospital in relation to the diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, and recommend what the best protocol is in these cases.

Irish Independent

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