Update: Hospital opens helpline for patients worried about BRACA genetic test results

Update: Hospital opens helpline for patients worried about BRACA genetic test results

Update - 8.42pm: Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin says patients concerned over BRACA genetic test results can contact a dedicated helpline at the hospital on 01-4096219.

The line will operate Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm.

The hospital is again offering reassurance to patients that there's no concern regarding the accuracy of the actual test results.

It is currently prioritising a review of 335 positive tests, to ensure that all correspondence was communicated correctly, and it will then review the negative results.

Update: Hospital opens helpline for patients worried about BRACA genetic test results

Earlier: Solicitor disputes HSE claim that cancer-gene test error was 'isolated incident'

The solicitor of a cancer patient who was wrongly told she had tested negative for a cancer-causing genetic mutation has criticised the HSE for stating that it is an isolated incident.

The woman was told in 2010 that she did not have the BRACA gene which increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The woman recently learnt that she has ovarian cancer and that she does, in fact, have the BRACA gene. She had tested for the gene in 2009 as she has a family history of the disease.

The HSE has stated that all facts indicate that it is an isolated incident, while Health Minister Simon Harris said it appears to be human error.

The Minister said: "I think it's very important that I'm clear that it's not a testing error; I've heard people use phraseology that would suggest that it was an error with the test.

"That doesn't seem to be the case at all, [it's] more a human error in transcribing the result of the test."

A report into the running of the National Centre for Medical Genetics (now the Department of Clinical Genetics) which is based at Our Lady's Children's Hosptial, Crumlin was carried out in 2014 after it emerged that patients who were found to be potentially at risk of inherited cardiac disease were never informed.

It found that communication between senior staff was dysfunctional and that patients did not get timely access to genetic tests.

A number of cases relating to genetic misreporting have been taken against the hospital in the years since then.

The woman's Solicitor Caoimhe Haughey believes that based on these other incidents its incorrect to refer to her client's case as isolated. She said the review of BRACA tests doesn't go far enough.

Ms Haughey said: "It has to be an all-encompassing, root-and-branch review, full clinical audit of all genetic testing in the hospital over the last 10 years."

A review of 3500 BRACA tests is due to conclude early this week.

Earlier: Review of 3,500 BRACA cancer-gene tests to be completed this week

The Minister for Health Simon Harris says he expects a review into 3,500 genetic tests to be completed early this week.

Update: Hospital opens helpline for patients worried about BRACA genetic test results

The review was confirmed after it emerged that a patient was told she did not carry a specific BRACA gene that placed her at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The woman, who is now battling ovarian cancer, discovered last month that she had tested positive for the generic cancer indicator at the time.

Crumlin Children's Hospital has apologised and says it was a transcription error rather than a mistake with the test.

The Children's Hospital Group, which oversees operations at the Crumlin hospital, apologised to the woman involved yesterday and said it regrets "the series of events that led to her current difficult situation".

In a statement, it said it believes the case is "an isolated incident caused by human error".

Mr Harris concurred with the group's opinion.

"As of now, it is the view of the Children's Hospital Group that this is very likely to have been a very tragic but isolated incident, whereby there was a transcription error," he said.

I think it's very important that I'm clear that it's not a testing error; I've heard people use phraseology that would suggest that it was an error with the test.

"That doesn't seem to be the case at all, [it's] more a human error in transcribing the result of the test," he said.

Digital Desk

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