Mother says she would've aborted pregnancy if she knew child had Down syndrome, sues hospital for 'failing' to detect disorder
A 33-year-old woman is suing the National Health Service (NHS) for over £200,000 after medics allegedly failed to perform certain tests which would have revealed that her then unborn baby had Down syndrome.
The woman, Edyta Mordel, had said that she asked for the tests to be carried out during pregnancy and was ultimately devastated when her baby son was diagnosed with the condition after his birth, the Daily Mail reported.
Mordel, while addressing the High Court in London, said that although she was now devoted to her four-year-old son Aleksander, she would have terminated her pregnancy if she knew he would be born with Down syndrome. In the suit, the case is reportedly termed as a 'wrongful birth'.
NHS Litigation Authority, according to the figures from 2017, paid £70million to parents in 'wrongful birth' cases in a period of five years. The amount also included £40million in damages in 16 cases where parents claimed that screenings conducted before births failed to warn them of the risk of their babies being born with a disability.
Mordel, from Reading, Berkshire, is reportedly suing for compensation for the increased financial costs of caring for her son, claiming that it has impacted her ability to work. Mordel found out that she was pregnant in 2014 and reportedly told a midwife at her first appointment that she wanted her unborn baby to be screened for Down syndrome.
She reportedly received an all-clear after going for her 12-week scan. She was under the impression that the screening for Down syndrome had also been conducted, however, the test was not performed and the sonographer recorded 'Down [syndrome] screening declined' in her medical notes, the outlet reported.
NHS lawyers, meanwhile, have claimed that Mordel was offered the tests but she declined them and 'bitterly regretted' her decision after the birth of Aleksander. The lawyers have stated that it is 'inconceivable' that the sonographer would have written that screening was declined if that was not true. They also stated that it is relatively common for expectant mothers to decline screenings after learning that the tests carry miscarriage risks.
"I was always sure about the decision and I always wanted it," Mordel told the High Court. "I spoke with the midwife about Down syndrome screening. I had informed myself. I watched a lot of videos and read about screening. I knew from the start that I would agree on the Down syndrome screening and I would not make any other decision."
Her lawyer Clodagh Bradley QC told the court that the screening would have revealed a high risk of Down: "Miss Mordel would have been offered an abortion and she and Aleksander’s father, Lukasz Cieciura, agreed they would have terminated the pregnancy. Instead, she gave birth by Caesarean section at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in January 2015, and her medical notes recorded that she was ‘very upset and angry’ when Aleksander was diagnosed with Down."
The hearing in the case continues.