Minn. court restricts use of newborn blood samples
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against the state in a lawsuit contesting the state Health Department practice of allowing infant blood samples to be used for research purposes without getting permission to do so.
The majority opinion reverses a 2009 summary judgment that had been in favor of the state, which allows Mayo Medical Labo- ratories to use for research excess blood samples taken as part of a state contract to perform screening tests for inherited and congenital diseases, according to the ruling. (The lab is part of Mayo Clinic’s department of laboratory medicine and pathology, according to its website.)
An appeal of the summary judgment was denied in 2010.
As a result of the ruling, the state will now have to get written, informed consent before the samples can be used for research, said Scott Kelly, an attorney for the plaintiffs who works for Farrish Johnson Law Office, Mankato, Minn.
In addition, the ruling could have implications for several other states that have programs similar to Minnesota’s, Kelly said.
The state is considering its options. “We are reviewing the court’s decision to determine the potential implications of the ruling on the ongoing operations of the state’s newborn screening program,” Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota commissioner of health, said in a statement.
“This important public health program protects Minnesota babies from serious congenital and heritable disorders,”