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Published 2021-12-09
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Woman Sues Doctor For Being Born And Wins Millions.

There have been times where doctors have made some minor mistakes in their careers. Some were small without much effect but some mistakes could have seriously caused someone to suffer for the rest of their lives. This is exactly what happened to one woman suffering from spina bifida who took her mother’s GP to court claiming that he failed to provide her with adequate medical advice. But what exactly happened and on what grounds has she sued the doctor? What exactly is the young woman’s condition? And how did the court react? Read on to find out the story of Evie Toombes.

What Is Evie’s Condition?

Evie Toombes is a 20-year-old para-showjumper from Skegness, UK. She was born with spina bifida. The condition affects the spine and it is a type of neural tube defect. It can occur anyone along the spine when it fails to develop in the womb which causes a gap in the spine. Due to the fact that the neural tube does not close all the way, the backbone that protects the spinal cord doesn’t form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. As a result of her condition, the woman spends some of her days connected to tubes 24-hours-a day and has to put on her own catheter, stoma bag, a Hickman line, or a TPN. Though how has this condition affected her life? Read on to find out.

Evie Did Not Let It Stop Her

However, despite her condition, the girl has not allowed it to stop her from following her dreams and has formed a career in showjumping, where she has competed against both disabled and able-bodied riders. Besides focusing on her sports career, the young woman has also been educating children about invisible illnesses and she also works at Nottingham University. Evie has also used her social media to teach others about her condition. For her work, she has won the Inspirational Young Person Award at a Well Child charity event in 2018 where she got to meet Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. On top of this, she also appeared on ITV’s show “Hidden Disabilities: What’s The Truth?”

Faced Problems At School

Of course, due to her condition, Toombes had faced many difficulties. Due to the number of sick days she had taken from school, be it due to the fact she wasn’t feeling well or because of hospital visits, when it came to sitting down to her A-Levels, which are a UK subject-based qualification for students aged 16 and above. But when it came to 16-year-old Evie starting to prepare for her own, she was banned from returning to Skegness Grammar School because her attendance fell below 50% after she took too many sick days. Once she posted about it on her social media, and local media began covering the story, the school promptly apologized and said that of course, she will be able to sit her exams. But how and why did her condition make the 20-year-old sue her mother’s doctor? Read on to find out.

Lawsuit Against Doctor

Though it turns out, Evie’s condition could have been avoided from the very beginning. As it turns out, doctors routinely advise women who are trying to start a family, on the benefits of taking folic acid before conceiving and up until the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as the supplement is known to reduce the risk of spina bifida. However, the girl and her mother had revealed that she did not receive adequate advice. As a result, the 20-year-old claimed that Dr. Philip Mitchell was liable for a “wrong conception charge” and because of this, the girl took the case to court.

The Court Case

During the case Toombes’ lawyer Susan Rodway, told the court that had Evie’s mother Caroline been advised by her GP she would not have proceeded with her pregnancy as hastily as she did. She argued that had the woman put off getting pregnant when she did she would have had a “normal, healthy” baby, though she did add that it would have been a “genetically different person”. And as the High Court heard, the woman had a very good reason for seeking Dr. Mithcell’s expertise at the Hawthorn Medical Practice before planning on having her first baby in February 2001. Why? Read on to find out.

Doctor’s Wrong Advice?

The court heard that Mrs. Toombes’ decision to start a family was a very precious one as she herself had lost her parents when she was very young. As a result of this, she and her husband had refrained from trying for a child until after they have received advice during the consultation. However, as Caroline revealed, despite discussing folic acid during the consultation, she insisted that Dr. Mitchell did not tell her its significance in spina bifida prevention. As her lawyer recounted in front of the judge, the hopeful mother was told that it was not necessary for her if she had a good diet, which would mean she would not have to take it.

Doctor’s Defense

However, Michael De Navarro, the doctor’s defense, had insisted that his client had given reasonable advice to his patient about the effects of folic acid supplements being taken. He also claimed that he advised the mother to have a good diet and good folic acid levels, denying allegedly saying that supplements were not necessary. On top of this, he even suggested that Mrs. Toombes might have already been pregnant when she went to see him. Though, this is something that Judge Coe ruled against, adding that in her judgment she found the woman to not have been pregnant at the time of the consultation. But what else has the judge said? Find out on the next page.

Judge’s Ruling

The judge then went on to claim that according to her finding the woman was not advised properly and was not given enough guidance to take folic acid prior to conception and for the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy. She added that had this happened the woman would have delayed her attempts to conceive, which would have resulted in a later conception and which would have resulted in a normal healthy child. As a result of all this, in a landmark case, the judge has found Evie’s claim succeeds on liability thus making her eligible for compensations.

Compensation Amount

The exact amount of compensation that Evie will get will be decided at a later date in court unless the two parties will come to an agreement outside of court. However, British media have been reporting that this sum could be in the millions. The reason that this case has been described as a landmark one is that the decision could pave the way for Evie to claim damages related to her disability which will ensure that she is supported for the rest of her life. But on top of that, the ruling could also open the doors for other healthcare professionals to be found liable for negligent pre-conception advice which results in the birth of a child with a serious health condition.

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