An English woman with spina bifida is suing her mother’s former doctor for millions of dollars in health care costs and damages claiming that she should never have been born.
Evie Toombes, a 20-year-old equestrian show jumper from Lincolnshire, is suing her mother’s general practitioner, Dr. Philip Mitchell, for “wrongful conception” after he allegedly failed to advise her mother to take folic acid supplements before getting pregnant that she claims resulted in her birth defect, according to The Telegraph.
After her November 2001 birth, Toombes was diagnosed as having lipomyelomeningocele. This is a defect in the neural tube that affects the spine. Toombes’ bones did not develop properly along her spine cord, resulting in permanent disability.
Her mother claims she would not have given her birth if her doctor hadn’t told her to take folic acids to reduce the chance of her child being affected by the defect.
Her attorney, Susan Rodway, told the UK High Court judge that Toombes was suing for “having been born in a damaged state” and wants to recover millions of dollars needed to cover the costs of living with her condition.
Mitchell has denied any liability and has countered that he gave Caroline Toombes “reasonable advice,” although it is common practice to advise potential mothers to take the supplement before conceiving and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, The Telegraph reported.
The attorney claimed that his firm advises prospective parents to take 400 mg of Folic Acid. However, it’s not uncommon for him to recommend that mothers eat a balanced diet so supplements are less necessary.
“He told me it was not necessary,” she told the judge of her visit with the doctor in February 2001. “I was advised that if I had a good diet previously, I would not have to take folic acid.”
Rodway claimed that Mitchell had advised Rodway to postpone having a child.
“It is her evidence she would have read up on it and wouldn’t have attempted to become pregnant until she was satisfied that she had protected herself as much as possible,” she said, according to The Telegraph.
Rodway added Caroline Toombes would have had a “normal, healthy” baby, but one who was a “genetically different person” to Evie Toombes.
Currently, despite her mobility being “very limited,” the equestrian hopes to compete in the Paralympics despite sometimes being hooked up to medical tubes for 24-hours a day. She will need to be confined more often to a wheelchair as she gets older. Her condition also causes her to have bowel problems and bladder issues.
A final verdict is likely to be rendered at a later date.