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Michigan to destroy some infant blood spots in fight over consent

Closeup of the feet of a baby wrapped in a pink blanket
christianabella
/
Pixabay
Hospitals routinely prick the heels of newborns to draw blood to check for more than 50 rare diseases.

Michigan has agreed to destroy more than 3 million dried blood spots taken from babies and kept in storage.

It's all part of a partial settlement in an ongoing lawsuit over consent and privacy in the digital age. Hospitals routinely prick the heels of newborns to draw blood to check for more than 50 rare diseases.

That practice isn’t being challenged. The dispute in Michigan is over leftover samples. A blood spot from each child is stored in Lansing while more are stored in Detroit for possible use by scientists.

Michigan must get permission from parents to use spots for health research. But attorney Philip Ellison argues that the program might not be constitutional.

The agreement to destroy some blood spots doesn’t end the lawsuit.

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