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Mother takes legal action over “wrongful birth”

A devastated mother has taken a medical negligence legal suit against the NHS in a very sensitive issue regarding her daughter’s quality of life. The mother claims she would have opted for an abortion if she’d had been told her daughter was to be born with a Zika like disease. The case has sparked debate over flow of information and a parent’s “rights” to choose an abortion dependent on circumstances.

Mother sues NHS for medical negligence over misinformation of baby's illness

Moral Dilemma

The incident in question has raised a lot of prominent points regarding the use of information about an unborn child, following the argument put across by the child’s mother Mrs Amanda McGuinn.

Mrs McGuinn and her husband Paul have taken high court action, citing a “wrongful birth” due to the fact their daughter was born with “profound microcephaly”. The disease causes symptoms very similar to those caused by the Zika virus including problems to the brain and motor skills. It also causes deformity of the head and dwarfism.

With low life expectancy also a problem, Amanda insists that had she been told her child would endure suffering and live with these problems her entire life, she would have opted to abort the child as early as possible.

Her daughter had developed anomalies, which Amanda’s legal council state should have been spotted earlier and informed her about for her to make an educated decision on whether or not to have the baby. While the issue regarding whether aborting a child due to deformities or illnesses is a huge one, in this instance it is a question of the quality and length of life Matilda will have.

 

Due diligence

The NHS Trust denies that any information on the anomalies would have led to an offer of termination of the pregnancy, however, both mother and father believe they would have been referred to King’s College Hospital in London and better advised on what the best option would have been.

The questions being asked by Matilda’s parents are:

  1. Did the doctors realise Matilda have visible anomalies?
  2. If so, when did they notice them?
  3. Why did they not inform the parents?
  4. Should they have informed them and advised them?

What the case amounts to is to establish whether or not failing to tell the parents about the possible problems their child would face amounts to “medical negligence”. Misinformation or withholding vital medical information can affect a person’s life; in this case Matilda’s parents are claiming that not being informed has resulted in a painful, possibly shortened life for the child.

Medical Negligence against children is a very serious offence

The individual case aside, medical negligence can often have some of the longest lasting, time, labour and cost intensive consequences. A medical practioners can often have a person’s life or future in their hands. Even at the level of a GP at your local medical centre, prescribing incorrect medication or misdiagnosing a problem which turns out to be worse can lead to a serious outcome.

With medical negligence requiring a lot of output after the incident, it is important to have a supportive team and family to help fight through the injury or wrongdoing. The role of a solicitor in a case of medical negligence is to offer extra support more than simply legal assistance including the arrangement of specialists for recovery, therapists and any extra medical care needed in the long time.

If you feel you, a friend or family member have suffered an injury due to the actions or inactions of a medical expert, you can call us for free and impartial advice on whether or not you could be in a position to gain a measure of justice for your pain.

If you want to speak to a qualified specialist about an injury or illness suffered, our lines are open from 9am to 7pm weekdays on 01695 722 222 or you can use our contact form to let us know about the injury. We can then call you when it is suitable for you to speak in more detail about the details of the injury.

 

Image Source
  1. UNICEF Ukraine, Flickr.com, https://www.flickr.com/photos/unicefua/17064473475
  2. Bridget Colla, Flickr.com, https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6080/6091832360_c140db4ca7_b.jpg
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