Serious New Claims in Misdiagnosis Abortion Case


The doctor who signed off on the abortion of a baby who was misdiagnosed with Edwards syndrome never examined or met the mother, it has been claimed. And the parents at the centre of the case involving the National Maternity Hospital now believe that an illegal abortion was carried out, the Dáil has been told.


In March, the abortion was performed after the parents were informed the child would not survive outside the womb. The couple said they were advised that their baby had Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome. It followed the results of two of three tests. However, the results of a third more detailed test, which came back after the abortion had been carried out, found there was no abnormality present.


Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín told the Dáil that having spoken with a legal representative for the family he had serious concerns about the “desperately tragic case”.


“The family was falsely told that the child had a fatal foetal abnormality. The couple claim that their child would be with them today if it were not for the actions of the hospital,” Deputy Tóibín said.


“They state that it was an illegal abortion and that the medical practitioners who signed off on the abortion never examined or met the mother in advance of the abortion. If that is the case, it is contrary to the law brought in by the Government and it is illegal.”


It is understood one of the doctors was clinically involved in the diagnosis.


The abortion law, which came into effect in January, refers to “two medical practitioners having examined the pregnant woman are of a reasonable opinion formed in good faith” that the baby will not survive.


But the law does not make clear if both doctors have to physically examine the mother - or whether the second doctor must only be satisfied about confirming the diagnosis.


The family has called for an independent investigation. The hospital is to set up an external review and says it has made “significant progress” towards identifying suitable experts and finalising their terms of reference.


Irish Independent. June 13. The Irish Times. June 13.

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