Per­mis­sion re­quired

Minn. court re­stricts use of new­born blood sam­ples

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - Paul Barr

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,”

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