It might be weird to hear it for the first time but a woman has sued her mother’s doctor. As a result, has won the right to millions in damages in a High Court ruling. Evie Toombes, who is 20 years of age, is suffering from spina bifida. This is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and the spinal cord do not form properly. This leads to restricted mobility and having to spend almost 24 hours a day connected to tubes.
The High Court Ruling Made The Doctor Liable For Damages
Judge Rosalind Coe, from the London High Court, had made the ruling on December 1st that Doctor Philip Mitchell was liable for the damage from Evie’s ‘personal injury’ arising from her disability due to improper advice to her mother on folic acid supplements.
The Law forbids children with disabilities from filing such cases but the Court judged that Ms. Toombes’ case should move forward. It was under “wrongful conception” and in line with the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976.
Mrs. Lambert, the Justice, had approved of this particular case because the doctor’s advice was inadequate. This was followed by sex while being folic acid deficient. This series of events had led to the birth of a child with disabilities primarily because the mother was deficient in folic acid.
The total amount of the damages would be determined later. It could be in the millions as it covers the lifetime costs of extensive care.
This landmark ruling finally meant that “a healthcare professional can now be found liable for negligent pre-conception advice which results in the birth of a child with a serious health condition”.
The Inadequate Advice Offered By The Doctor Led To The Birth Of A Child With Disabilities
Mrs. Caroline Toombes, who is also a keen horsewoman, had visited Dr. Mitchell in February 2001 to consult about pre-conception and what she should do before her pregnancy. It was almost two decades ago and Doctor Mitchell could not recollect the appointment. He had to rely on his “standard practice” and a GP note that read: ‘Preconception counseling. adv. Folate if desired discussed’.
Dr. Mitchell, in his statement, said that the “relevant guidance recommends folic acid supplementation of 400 µg daily for women preparing for pregnancy and during the first trimester”.
The High Court had accepted Mrs. Toombes’ statement that she was not informed by Dr. Mitchell about the relation between the prevention of neural tube defects (spina bifida) and folic acid supplements. She was also told that the supplements were not compulsory if she maintained a healthy diet.
The Courts Final Verdict On The Toombes Case
The Court decided that Dr. Mitchell did not give her sound advice. It added that if she was adequately advised, she would have taken the supplements and delayed the conception.
Judge Coe also wrote that ‘a later conception would have been of a normal healthy individual’.
The High Court had heard how Mrs. Toombes had made her decision to start her family after losing her parents. She had refrained from having sex “until after they had received advice from her GP.”
Clyde & Co represented Dr. Mitchell. Their statement said that the ruling was a reminder to medical practitioners of the need to take clear and detailed notes of their consultations. “Without the evidence of a clear and contemporaneous note of the consultation to substantiate the doctor’s version of events, such claims are often difficult to defend. This is the case even when a doctor is adamant they would have followed their usual and routine practice which is deemed not to be negligent.”
The Doctor’s Association based in the UK said that it was really concerning. Also, they were actively looking at the prospects of helping Dr. Mitchell out.
Evie Toombes Has Built Up Her Castle, Brick By Brick
As for Evie, she has started her own website. She describes her motto in life as: ‘Find a way, not an excuse.’ She has been competing in showjumping, in both national and international events. Evie also educates children about invisible illnesses while working at Nottingham University.
Evie met the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, in 2018. Additionally, she won the Inspiration Young Person Award at a Well-child charity event.
Keep Reading: ‘There’s no way I can pay for this:’ One of the largest hospital chains has been suing thousands of patients during the pandemic
- “Spina bifida patient wins legal case against GP for ‘not advising folic acid supplement’.” Pulse Today. Caitlin Tilley. December 2, 2021.
- “Spina bifida showjumper WINS landmark legal case over her ‘wrongful conception’: Evie Toombes, 20, who sued her mother’s GP claiming she ‘should never have been born’ could win MILLIONS in damages.” Daily Mail. Laurence Dollimore. December 1, 2021.
- “Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976.” Legislation
- “Evie Toombes: showjumper with spina bifida in line for millions after suing GP over her birth.” The Times. Jonathan Ames. December 2, 2021.
- “Recipient of Meghan and Harry Wellchild charity award suing mother’s doctor.” Honey. Jo Abi. November 2021.