An Irish hospital has agreed to pay damages to a couple in a case involving an abortion due to a faulty prenatal test.
The “unnecessary abortion” or “wrongful termination” case – as it is labeled in European media – began when Patrick Kiely and Rebecca Price learned she was pregnant in December 2018. An ultrasound scan in February 2019 was normal, but doctors advised them to have a prenatal test, known as a Harmony test, according to the Irish Examiner. The test indicated the baby had Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards’ syndrome. Price then underwent Chorionic Villus Sampling, which involved a sample being sent to a lab. It also indicated the baby had Trisomy 18.
Doctors told her the baby would not survive, she said. They also encouraged her to get an abortion, she said.
Price underwent an abortion in March 2019, but a subsequent test on tissue showed the baby had not had Trisomy 18. The abnormal cells were confined to the placenta, the Irish Examiner reported.
Price said she suffered physical and mental trauma knowing she had aborted a “normal healthy baby boy.”
The couple sued National Maternity Hospital and a lab, among others. The defendants admitted liability Tuesday.
In a statement, the couple said they want to meet with government officials “to ensure this ‘Never event’ never happens again.”
Their attorney, Caoimhe Haughey, spoke on their behalf outside the court Tuesday.
“I am here today on behalf of Rebecca, Pat and their son Christopher Joseph Kiely,” Haughey said. “It has taken two years, three months and nine days to get to this point for this couple and their son. Christopher’s voice has finally been heard and vindicated arising from the full admission of liability at the eleventh hour.”
Under the settlement, the defendants will say in writing that the DNA from the fetus “showed no evidence of chromosome 18 abnormality and specifically no evidence of mosaicism of Trisomy 18 – although that cannot be completely excluded in the absence of a second cell type. However, these data are consistent with, and most likely representative of, a chromosomally normal baby boy.”
Trisomy 18 occurs in one out of every 2,500 pregnancies in the United States and 1 in 6,000 live births, according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has a daughter, Bella, with Trisomy 18. He and his wife, Karen, wrote a book about her, Bella’s Gift.
“This book was really written for parents who have kids with disabilities,” Karen Santorum said in 2015. “That’s why it is so transparent. When you talk to each and every one of these parents, the message is that every person matters. It’s a beautiful message.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.