Woman who had abortion after misleading test calls for an inquiry

Couple say they ‘were not scared of the prospect of caring or loving a very sick child’

The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Holles Street is undertaking a lookback of unborn babies found to have a fatal foetal abnormality over the past 20 years to see if they were correctly diagnosed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Holles Street is undertaking a lookback of unborn babies found to have a fatal foetal abnormality over the past 20 years to see if they were correctly diagnosed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A woman whose pregnancy was terminated on the basis of a misleading test result at the National Maternity Hospital has repeated a call for an independent inquiry into the case.

The woman and her husband say they feel “abandoned” after having being led to believe the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK would review the case.

RCOG told The Irish Times last week it was not able to carry out the review because it lacked the appropriate expertise among its assessors.

It has told the maternity hospital in Holles Street it will try to source individual experts to help, but this has not happened yet.

“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,” the couple told RTÉ News on Thursday.

They have called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to intervene so that an independent inquiry can be established, and say this should also establish if any similar cases occurred in Holles Street in the past.

The NMH is undertaking a lookback of unborn babies found to have a fatal foetal abnormality over the past 20 years to see if they were correctly diagnosed.

In the current case, the couple terminated a pregnancy in the hospital after a CVS test (chorionic villus sampling) showed their baby had an abnormality known as trisomy 18, or Edwards Syndrome.

A later, more comprehensive, test showed the baby was healthy, but these results arrived after the termination was carried out.

“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,” according to a spokesman.

“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.”

The couple’s solicitor Caoimhe Haughey accused the hospital of “investigating itself” and of “thinking it is above the law”.

The hospital spokesman said its lookback was “without prejudice” to any independent review of the case. So far, the exercise had not identified any cases similar to the current one.

Ms Haughey also criticised Mr Harris, saying he had responded to calls for him to intervene only through officials “in a half-hearted manner”.