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Class Sues Over Infant Blood Sampling in B.C.

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A mother has filed a class action accusing British Columbia's Provincial Health Services Authority of collecting blood samples from every infant born in B.C. and the Yukon since 1999 without permission.

Natalie Docherty and her two children, identified as L.D. and E.D., say the agency collected blood samples from the infants before sending them off to a lab to test for "18 detectable disorders." The samples were later sent to a storage facility where the authority holds nearly 800,000 sample cards, which are accessed by researchers for "unknown research and testing purposes," the complaint states.

"Potential users of the blood sample cards include law enforcement personnel and agencies, coroners, health regulators and health insurers," the complaint states. "The blood sample storage facility amounts to a legally unauthorized fully functional DNA database. Expansion of the range of information that can be extracted from blood is reasonably foreseeable."

The agency allegedly failed to tell parents that the blood samples would be used for anything other than testing for diseases and conditions, and failed to get patients' consent to store the samples.

The plaintiffs want the blood samples destroyed and demand damages for breach of privacy and breach of their rights against unlawful search and seizure.

The class is represented by Jason B. Gratl.

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