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IHF welcomes decision not to destroy newborn blood samples

The Irish Heart Foundation welcomes the decision by Minister for Health, James Reilly, not to destroy precious newborn blood samples. Irish Heart Foundation Chief Executive Barry Dempsey said: “On behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation and the families we represented on this issue who have lost children to sudden cardiac death, I extend our deepest appreciation to Minister James Reilly. The latest announcement means the estimated 1,400 families affected, will not lose their last chance of a genetic diagnosis in the future nor will the last remaining DNA of their child be destroyed.

“The Minister deserves full credit for this decision and our charity welcomes the return to meaningful discussion through an expert group to protect these 1,400 samples and to ensure they are stored appropriately with proper consent. We look forward to open consultation to bring a positive resolution to this important issue.

“I also extend our thanks to members of our SADS support group and to all the families and supporters around Ireland who have backed the Irish Heart Foundation’s efforts to preserve these precious blood samples. I must also thank those who have contributed to our fundraising efforts because without their regular donations, campaigns like this cannot happen.

“Only two weeks ago, the Irish Heart Foundation launched the #stopthedestructionnow campaign to ensure that all families affected by sudden cardiac death in a child or teen, had the opportunity to save their child’s newborn screening card from between 1984 and 2002 and hold it for genetic testing in the future. A genetic diagnosis using these heel prick test cards can potentially isolate a faulty gene that allows their remaining children and extended family to be tested for an underlying genetic condition. Thanks to the Minister, this hope lives on.”

If you would like more information please visit the Irish Heart Foundation website.

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