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Irish hospital reviews its cancer test reports after error in case

26 November 2018
Appeared in BioNews 977

A hospital in Ireland has been reviewing hundreds of test reports for the BRCA gene after a woman was incorrectly told she was not at a heightened risk of cancer.

Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, is undertaking a review of its BRCA test reports. On Friday, the hospital said that it had completed its review of its 335 positive test reports. It said: 'No further discrepancy was identified in communicating the correct result to a patient's referring consultant.'

It will now review the reports where the result was negative. 

The unidentified woman had tested positive for the BRCA risk gene in January 2010, but was told by Our Lady's Children's Hospital that it was negative. She now has advanced ovarian cancer and is being treated with chemotherapy, according to her solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey.

The woman had undertaken a blood test at the hospital in late 2009. Her sample was sent to a hospital in the UK for testing before the results were returned to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in January 2010. The blood test is designed to detect whether women aged over 30 face a higher risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer.

The hospital, which miscommunicated the result to the woman, has apologised to her. It described the mistake as an 'isolated incident caused by human error'. 

It said: 'The Children's Hospital Group also apologises to the woman at the centre of this transcription error and regrets the series of events that led to her current difficult situation.'

'All facts in this incident currently point to the fact that a transcription error of a genetic test result occurred.'

It added that its current review is 'a precautionary measure…to ensure tests results were transcribed correctly and that no similar transcription error has occurred'.

The hospital said: 'We wish to reiterate that there is no concern regarding the accuracy of the BRCA test itself, regrettably the error occurred in communicating the test result.'

Children's Hospital Group statement on transcription error of genetic test result
Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin |  18 November 2018
Crumlin Hospital to review all versions of BRACA cancer-gene tests after suspected 'transcription error' in one case |  18 November 2018
Hospital to review cancer tests after patient misdiagnosed
BBC |  19 November 2018
Statement issued re: Genetics
Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin |  20 November 2018
Statement regarding error in communicating a genetic test result at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin
Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumblin |  23 November 2018
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