Storage and Use of Babies’ Blood Spots Raise Concerns

Storage and Use of Babies' Blood Spots Raise Concerns

Medical Research SCANDAL? – Lawsuits Filed!

( – Each year, millions of babies are born in America. Hospitals test many of them for diseases and defects via a prick to the heel of their feet. Then medical facilities keep the card containing the baby’s blood on file for a set time. Recent lawsuits, however, have brought some potential privacy and informed consent issues to light.

One attorney, Philip Ellison, prompted by the birth of his own child in Michigan, filed a lawsuit in 2021 on behalf of other parents who were allegedly ill-informed of the practice. Michigan stores the smear for decades and uses it for research following parental consent. Yet, some parents have reportedly complained that they didn’t receive enough information to make informed decisions about how their children’s smears would be used. After the initial case filing, state officials said they would destroy over 3 million samples. Still, there are a lot more samples than that on file, and the future of those blood spots will be up to the court at trial, according to a report from CBS News.

In New Jersey, where facilities reportedly keep baby blood samples for decades, police used a sample in a criminal case to gather evidence on a subject related to a child. A July lawsuit there alleged authorities used the sample to rob the suspect of his Fourth Amendment rights.

According to a study reported by the CDC, it’s estimated that nearly 13,000 serious medical conditions are detected through newborn screening every year. However, not all states require parental consent in order to keep these blood spots, CBS New reports. Meanwhile, concern lies in what happens after the labs are complete and whether or not people are being properly informed.

What do you think? Should states be required to make sure parents can offer informed consent before holding onto these tests?

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