External review of abortion at NMH

Couple told baby had fatal foetal abnormality
  • Deborah Condon

An external review has been ordered into the circumstances of an abortion that was carried out at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Holles Street in March.

The review will be conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. It follows a complaint made by a couple who had been told that their unborn baby had the fatal foetal abnormality, Trisomy 18.

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a chromosomal disorder which causes the organs to develop abnormally. Many babies do not survive past the second or third trimester and those who are born are typically very small and frail, with serious health problems, such as heart, lung and kidney defects, severe developmental delays, feeding problems and slow growth.

It is understood that the couple underwent a series of genetic tests, the first of which found that their baby had Trisomy 18. They decided to have an abortion and this was carried out in the second trimester at the NMH.

However, the results of one of the genetic tests, which had been sent abroad for analysis and was not available before the abortion, subsequently found that the baby did not have condition.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has been informed and the NMH has confirmed that it has asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to review a recent case. However, it has stated that it cannot comment on individual cases.

 


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