A couple who had an abortion after being wrongly advised that their healthy baby boy had a fatal foetal abnormality have settled their High Court actions.
Rebecca Price and Patrick Kiely said they wanted to meet Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to work with him on ways to make sure such an event never happens again.
Yesterday, the court heard that the defendants – five medical consultants operating as the Merrion Fetal Health Clinic, the National Maternity Hospital and a Glasgow laboratory – admitted full liability.
The couple's legal costs will be paid by the defendants, excluding the laboratory.
As part of the settlement, the defendants are also to write to the Minister for Health to the effect that a DNA sample from the baby was most likely representative of a chromosomally normal baby boy.
The National Maternity Hospital also confirmed that it operated a policy of a multi-disciplinary team approach to terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities.
Ms Price and Mr Kiely were told that a blood test when Ms Price was 12 weeks' pregnant with their first child in early 2019 was positive for Trisomy 18, a serious and rare genetic disorder, also known as Edwards Syndrome.
A further rapid result PCR test carried out in a Glasgow laboratory also showed Trisomy 18 had been detected.
Ms Price and Mr Kiely say they followed the advice of their consultant, Professor Fionnuala MacAuliffe, and had a termination on 14 March 2019.
The results of a full cell culture test showed that the baby did not have the condition.
Ms Price said she had experienced all-consuming mental and physical trauma ever since.
In a statement read outside court this afternoon, the couple's solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said they were at the beginning of the end of a harrowing, cruel and tortuous journey.
She said the couple made it absolutely clear in early March 2019 to their consultant, Prof McAuliffe, that they would only have considered her advice to end their pregnancy if their baby had no chance of survival.
Ms Haughey said guidelines from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were not followed, and their son, Christopher Joseph, was wrongly diagnosed with Trisomy 18. She said he was a normal healthy baby boy.
Ms Haughey said it had taken two years, three months and nine days to get to this point.
She said Christopher's voice had been finally heard and vindicated arising from the full admission of liability on the part of Merrion Fetal Health, the National Maternity Hospital and consultants, Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe, Dr Peter McParland and Professor Shane Higgins, at the 11th hour yesterday.
She said it was now accepted and acknowledged that Christopher was taken away from the couple as a result of the incorrect interpretation of genetic tests by Prof McAuliffe and Dr McParland, compounded by subsequent, catastrophically incorrect medical advice.
Ms Haughey said nothing would take away the interminable sadness and grief Ms Price and Mr Kiely lived with every day, and nothing would take away from their love for their son, who would have been two years old this summer.
She said the couple would like to meet the Minister for Health as soon as possible to work with him on ways to make sure this "Never Event" never happens again.
Ms Haughey said they were also calling for the immediate cessation of what she said was the current practice of not awaiting the results of 'Chorionic Villus karyotyping analysis' or a full chromosomal analysis in all cases where genetic conditions were suspected in the presence of a normal scan.
The couple thanked everyone who had supported and cared for them, including their families and their legal team.
They also said they wanted to thank Consultant Geneticist at the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Willie Reardon, and Dr Bryan Beattie, a consultant in Fetal Medicine from Wales.