Showjumper wins right to sue over ‘wrongful conception’

Dec 5, 2021 by

by Michael Cook, Bio Edge:

A 20-year-old woman in the UK who aspires to be a paralympian has won the right to sue for millions in damages because her mother’s doctor failed to advise her to take folic acid supplements before attempting to become pregnant.

Although lawsuits on the basis of “wrongful life” are not permitted in the UK, this case, Evie Toombes v Dr M, opens up the possibility of suing doctors on for “wrongful conception”.

Evie Toombes suffers from a form of spina bifida, lipomyelomeningocele. Although she is a champion showjumper, she needed surgery as a baby and suffers from weakness and impaired mobility and has bladder and bowel problems. She requires feeding via a nasogastric tube. She explains her difficulties on her blog, Evie Toombes Para Rider.

She alleged that had the family doctor told her mother that she needed to take folic acid to minimize the risk of spina bifida, she would have deferred conception. This means that Evie would never have been born at all.

Judge Rosalind Coe QC, of the High Court, supported her argument and awarded her the right to a huge compensation payout.

The case was essentially decided on the credibility of the witnesses, as it was largely the doctor’s word against the mother’s. The doctor, Philip Mitchell, relied on notes from a consultation with Mrs Toombes taken 20 years before.

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