Evie Toombes is a 20-year-old para-showjumper who sued her mother’s GP, claiming that she should never have been born – and won the right to millions in damages.
The 20-year-old was born was spina bifida and sometimes spends up to 24-hours-a-day connected up to tubes. Spectacularly, she has managed to have a stunning career in showjumping, competing against both disabled and able-bodied riders.
In a unique ‘wrongful conception’ damages claim, Evie sued Dr. Philip Mitchell over his failure to advise her mother, the 50-year-old Caroline Toombes to take vital supplements before getting pregnant.
Evie claimed that if the doctor had told her mother that she needed to take folic acid supplements to minimize the risk of spina bifida affecting the baby, she would have been put off getting pregnant – and Evie would never have been born.
In a landmark ruling in London, Judge Rosalind Coe QC awarded Evie the right to a huge compensation payout.
Even though the amount Evie is claiming hasn’t been calculated yet, they confirmed that it would be big because it would cover the cost of her extensive lifelong care needs.
The judge ruled that if Evie’s mother would have been provided with the correct recommended advice, she would have delayed the attempts to conceive.
‘In the circumstances, there would have been a later conception, which would have resulted in a normal healthy child.’ – the judge added.
The court also heard how Evie’s mother had refrained from intercourse ‘until after she had received advice’ from the GP.
The ruling means that a healthcare professional can now be found liable for negligent pre-conception advice which might result in the birth of a child with a serious health condition.
Evie has repeatedly thanked her mother and father for their support in her blog posts, and she also spoke about her issues on the Hidden Disabilities: What’s The Truth? ITV show.
The judge found that Dr. Mitchell had not told Mrs. Toombes of the importance of taking folic acid supplements before getting pregnant, and if she had been told, she would have delayed conceiving and instead had a totally healthy baby.
The court heard during the trial that Mrs. Toombes had gone to see Dr. Mitchell at Hawthorn practices to discuss her plans to have her first baby in February 2001, and it was a very precious decision to start a family because she herself had lost her parents at a very young age.
However, despite discussing folic acid during the consultation, Mrs. Toombes was not told by Dr. Mitchell of its importance in spina bifida prevention. Instead, the doctor had told her to go home and try to make a baby.
The doctor told her that it was not necessary, and she was advised that if she had a good diet previously, she would not have to take folic acid.
Evie was diagnosed with a lipomylomeningocoele (LMM) after her birth in November 2001, a form of neural tube defect to the spine, leading to permanent disability.
The court heart that Evie’s mobility is ‘very limited’ and she will depend more and more on a wheelchair as she grows older, and she also suffers with bowel and bladder issues.
The doctor’s lawyer denied liability, suggesting that the doctor told the mother that 400 micrograms of folic acid should be taken by those preparing for pregnancy and throughout the first trimester once pregnant.
The doctor would have said that if the mother had a good diet and good folic acid levels, supplements would be less important, but denied saying that they were not necessary.
Unless agreed by the parties outside of court, the case will return to court to decide the full amount of Evie’s compensation.
Nevertheless, Evie’s life motto is: ‘Find a way, not an excuse.’
Source: Daily Mail