Lorraine Kelly apologises after Dr Hilary Jones calls children without Down’s syndrome “normal”


LORRAINE Kelly has apologised after veteran television doctor Hilary Jones referred to children without Down’s syndrome as “normal”.

The Scottish TV host has been inundated with messages from parents of children with down syndrome after Dr Hilary made the comment on yesterday morning’s Lorraine.

During a segment discussing new down syndrome detection tests, Dr Hilary said: “You can get false positives – so a misdiagnosis of a down syndrome baby where the baby’s normal.”

Dr Hilary Jones/Facebook

At the time of airing, Lorraine did not correct or make any reference to the 64-year-old doctor’s comments.

But last night she apologised from her personal Twitter page after parents began inundated her page with with messages and photographs of their children.

Lorraine has been re-tweeting the images including one from disappointed mum Emma Johnson who shared a family photograph of her son, writing: “Lorraine, you’re lovely but please re-educate yourselves on what is acceptable language. Here is my ‘surprise normal’ son, Toby.”

Lorraine responded: “I hear you Emma. Thank you – Toby is so gorgeous.”

Another mum, Angela Grantdean said: “Horrendous use of the word normal by @DrHilaryJones, you should have corrected him.

“Thought you both were better than that! Here’s my normal son….”

Lorraine responded: “Apologies Angela and thank you for putting us right.”

Twitter user @TheMaDeva who shared a shot of her daughter, writing: “Aw Lorraine, I was so shocked with your choice of words today.

“My super normal daughter with an extra little chromosome needs your support, not negative media.

“We’re all striving for more positive awareness – it would be lovely if you could help us do that?”

Lorraine retweeted the post, writing: “Were not my words Abi – totally hear what you are saying. Very happy to help.”

Several other mothers shared personal photographs of their children too, including Michelle Hargie who wrote: “Here here! My normal little girl Rosie xx”

A spokeswoman for the charity, Down’s Syndrome Association today recommended that Dr Hilary should take part in training about the condition.

She said: “The language used by Dr Hilary Jones on the Lorraine show yesterday while discussing NIPT testing was upsetting and thoughtless.

“It is clear that Dr Hilary Jones would benefit from our Royal College of Midwives accredited Tell it Right Start it Right training in order to understand the impact of language, get up to date information about Down’s syndrome and to hear the lived experience of individuals with Down’s syndrome and their families today.”

Dr Hilary made the comment during The Pulse segment of Lorraine’s breakfast show.

In full, he said: “I think this is really exciting because women facing a screening for down syndrome worry about the results.

“You can get false positives – so a misdiagnosis of a down syndrome baby where the babies normal and you can get a diagnosis which is missed so this test is interesting as it’s been trialed in five NHS trusts , its called a reflex DNA test.”

“What happens is you have the same sort of screening as you would conventionally so you have a blood test and an ultrasound test at about 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

“You look at the maternal age as well, you put the risk score together and you say to women are you going to have an amniocentesis which involves a needle going through the abdominal wall to the amniotic fluid and taking a sample of cells but that carries a one percent risk of miscarriage.

“So, you know, we’re reluctant to do that if we don’t have to.

“This test means that the same conventional test is done and if the score is above or more than one in 800 the same blood sample can be used to look for fragments of DNA from the foetus in the maternal blood.”

Dr Hilary today took to Twitter to apologise for the “unintended terminology” he used on yesterdays Lorraine show.

He said: “To all the wonderful children with Down’s Syndrome (including my own cousin) and the devoted families who love and nurture them apologies for my clumsy and totally unintended terminology on the show yesterday.

“I was referring to normal chromosomes and appreciate that wasn’t clear. Sorry.”

More information about Tell it Right Start it Right is available at http://bit.ly/2zxYDSH