European Data Protection Digest

Hospital May Destroy Blood Samples to Comply with Law

GENETIC PRIVACY—IRELAND

January 29, 2010

Following a review by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), a Dublin hospital is proposing to destroy records more than 10 years old from the more than 1.5 million blood samples it has collected as part of the national newborn screening program since 1984, the Times Online reports. The hospital kept the samples, which include such details as names, addresses, dates of birth and test results, without informing the DPC or seeking parental permission, as required by law. A Health Service Executive spokesperson is quoted as saying the HSE is determined "to do whatever it takes" to bring the database into compliance, including determining whether parents can retroactively opt out if they do not want their children's samples stored.
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