The State of Michigan just agreed to destroy blood. A lot of it. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

As is common practice at hospitals, hospitals in the State of Michigan take several blood spots from the heels of newborns to check for the presence of diseases. But a lawsuit was filed challenging what happens to the blood that’s left over. In Michigan, the extra blood spots are sent to a biobank, and scientists pay fees to use the samples for research. 

Hospitals have parents sign documents in which they agree to allow the use of that blood, but attorneys for privacy rights advocates filed suit, pointing out that the time that parents are handed a bunch of forms is the moment they’ve just had a baby and might not be thinking clearly or asking questions like, “what are you be gonna be learning about my kid’s DNA if I agree to this?” After four years of litigation, Michigan just agreed to destroy 3.4 million blood spots and will determine how much blood is needed to screen the baby, and determine the appropriate consent if more than that is to be kept.

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