Case Study

Wrongful Birth Case.

Published on 26 Feb 2024
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  • Areas of Law:
  • Lawyer:
  • Outcome:
    The Defendant agreed to settle the claim for a sum sufficient to compensate for the additional care provided to the twins.
  • Year:

In August 2020 Lanyon Bowdler obtained a considerable six figure sum in damages for Claimants, Mr and Mrs XB in connection with a claim arising out of the wrongful birth of their twin daughters, A and E who tragically passed away aged only 8 and 16 months respectively.

The allegations were that there was a failure at 33 weeks pregnancy to advise the Claimants appropriately of the risk of their twin daughters being born significantly disabled following ultrasound scans which revealed abnormalities, namely that A’s head circumference was on the very low percentile scale.

Mrs XB was aware that the measurements were low and had sought reassurance from the doctors more than once which had been provided.

We obtained expert medical evidence that if the abnormalities had been identified as they should have been Mrs XB would have been referred for a detailed MRI scan which would have revealed that both twins would have been likely to have been born with serious neurological abnormalities and the Claimants would have been offered a late termination which they would have chosen in view of the circumstances.

The Claimants had already discussed between themselves the possibility of having a baby with neurological damage and had agreed that they did not wish to or feel able to bring up a severely mentally disabled child. However, as a result of the failings in identifying the discrepancy on the scans, Mrs XB gave birth to twin daughters who were both diagnosed with microcephaly within 3 days of their birth.

The little girls had extensive health needs and lived with pain and suffering every day. They required 24 hour care and both parents were unable to return to their work as planned leading to loss of earnings and financial strain. There was associated additional expenses as every attempt was made to alleviate their daughters’ suffering. There was a significant claim for the additional cost of care provided as a result of the twins’ injuries.

Tragically the twins each succumbed to their injuries and died. The parents had not been prepared for this and had to go through 2 separate funerals within a period of 6 months. Both of them sustained a psychiatric injury as a result of the impact of the negligence. We were able to claim damages for Mrs XB for her psychological injuries to include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

To prove the case, it was necessary for us to instruct experts Obstetrician and Neonatal Paediatrician. To prove losses we relied upon the evidence of a Consultant Psychiatrist, Care Expert and a Pension loss report.

We sent the Defendant a Letter of Claim in March 2018 which set out our formal allegations and invited the Defendant to commence their own investigations. The Defendant responded in October 2018 and made full admissions of negligence in that the hospital should have identified the areas of concern in the growth scans at 33 weeks gestation and provided the Claimants with the options available to them.

Court proceedings were issued on Mr and Mrs XB’s behalf as the Defendant failed to make reasonable offers of compensation. Thereafter, the parties agreed to proceed with a mediation in order to try and resolve matters prior to going to trial.

The acting solicitors took lengthy, detailed statements from the Claimant parents and other key witnesses to demonstrate the care required for their daughters due to the extent of their suffering and the impact on their lives and careers. The Defendant’s Solicitor commented in negotiations that these detailed statements supported by expert and documentary evidence had “made the difference” in negotiations.

The mediation took place in July 2020 during which the Defendant agreed to settle the claim for a sum sufficient to compensate for the additional care provided to the twins, loss of past and future earnings for Mrs XB, and compensation for her unnecessary pain and suffering involved with the delivery and her psychiatric injury to include money for future treatment and therapy.

Mr and Mrs XB each courageously read out their own personal statements at the mediation focusing on the impact of the negligence and the loss of their daughters upon their lives. The Defendant also provided Mr and Mrs B with a full and open apology and reassurance that lessons would be learned from their case which was much appreciated.

Since settling the claim, Mrs XB wrote to Lanyon Bowdler in order to express her thanks and said:

“…Every step of the way you have cared, you have listened, you have supported and you have fought for us. And you have done all this in the most professional and dignified manner. What you have given us as a family is hope. Hope that our future will be less full of pain and suffering…”

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