Parents in Misdiagnosis Abortion Case Feel 'Abandoned'
The parents of a baby who was aborted at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, after being misdiagnosed with Edwards syndrome have said they feel “abandoned” and led to believe there would be an investigation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. They have called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to intervene to establish an independent inquiry into their case, which would also establish if other such cases occurred, and if there were any ongoing issues of concern.
RTÉ News reports that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has told Holles Street that it cannot undertake the review. In a further development, the Department of Health has said, in correspondence with the couple, that it has been in contact with Holles Street “seeking assurances of the ongoing safety of termination services”.
In March this year, the couple decided to have an abortion after they were advised that their baby had Trisomy18, also known as Edwards syndrome, and that the baby would not survive. This diagnosis was made on the basis of the results of two of three tests. When a third, more detailed test came back, after the abortion had taken place, it found that there was no abnormality present.
Speaking to RTÉ News, the couple said, “We did not take the steps to terminate lightly and we were not scared of the prospect of caring or loving a very sick child. We were told this was a fatal foetal abnormality.”
After the case came to light in May, Holles Street said it had asked the RCOG in the UK to conduct a review. But the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has told Holles Street that it cannot undertake the review, because it does not have the appropriate expertise amongst its team of assessors. It also said it would not be able to complete a review in a timely enough manner for the family and hospital.
The Department of Health has written to lawyers for the couple saying that it has been in direct contact again with the National Maternity Hospital “seeking assurances of the ongoing safety of termination services” and progress in relation to the independent review.
Holles Street said that the RCOG has said it will approach experts with appropriate specialist knowledge, ascertain their availability to assist and then put the hospital in touch with them. The hospital said it is checking records over the past 20 years, to see if there were any similar cases where a test showed the presence of Edwards syndrome and a later test came back negative.
RTÉ. June 6.