‘No concerns’ says HSE over wrong blood group test

The University Maternity hospital in Limerick, where there were a small number of labelling errors
MOTHERS who gave birth in Limerick this year have been assured by the HSE there are “no immediate safety concerns” if their babies received the wrong blood group.

MOTHERS who gave birth in Limerick this year have been assured by the HSE there are “no immediate safety concerns” if their babies received the wrong blood group.

Twenty-nine mothers and 14 babies who attended University Maternity Hospital Limerick may have been affected by a blood group test kit error, according to figures released by the HSE.

The HSE has insisted it is extremely unlikely anyone will have been affected by the error, and it has contacted all relevant parties.

The manufacturers of the testing kits issued a warning to health authorities around the world, stating a small number of testing kits had been incorrectly labelled.

The blunder, where labels were fixed to the wrong side of the Ortho BioVue testing cassette, first came to light in June when hospitals were notified by manufacturer Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, part of the Johnson and Johnson group.

The Limerick maternity hospital was one of five affected in Ireland alongside Cavan, Sligo, Galway and the Rotunda in Dublin.

As a result, 27 mothers in Limerick were given an injection of the blood product anti-D when they may not have required it, while two who may have required it did not receive the injection.

The HSE also revealed that the blood groups of 14 babies may have been reported incorrectly. The kits are routinely used on newborns to determine the blood group at the time of delivery, while anti-D injections are generally given during pregnancy to expectant mothers who are rhesus negative in case their baby is rhesus positive.

The HSE stressed that there are “no immediate safety concerns” but has advised those affected to contact a dedicated helpline on 1850 24 1850 if they have concerns.

It also pointed out that all patients, including babies, “will always have a repeat blood group test when being admitted to any hospital or in pregnancy”.

In all, 278 babies may have had their blood groups reported incorrectly.