Court backs families in handling of newborn blood

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled two lower courts erred in dismissing a lawsuit by nine Minnesota families questioning the Minnesota Department of Health’s handling of blood drawn from newborn babies.

In a ruling released Wednesday, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the district court for trial.

The Minnesota Health Department collects a few drops of blood from every infant born in the state and tests that blood for dozens of disorders.

It retains any blood left over and now stores over 800,000 newborn screening samples. The department has allowed outside researchers to use the samples in their studies.

The families sued, arguing that it was illegal to retain and distribute the blood samples without their written permission. They didn’t question the newborn screening program itself, however.