A mother who insists she would have aborted her baby if she’d known it had Down Syndrome is suing the hospital that she says failed to adequately test for the condition.
British citizen Edyta Mordel, 33, said she instructed doctors to carry out the tests which would have determined that her baby had the condition. But the National Health Service denies this, arguing that, while initially she showed a desire for the screening, the expectant mother later refused to undergo the tests at the 12-week scan — something she went on to “bitterly regret” following her son’s birth and diagnosis.
The refusal was recorded in Ms. Mordel’s official patient notes.
Alleged incidences like this are controversially named, “wrongful birth” cases and can result in massive payouts on behalf of the NHS. The NHS Litigation Authority has paid some £70million to parents in “wrongful birth” suits over just five years.
Mordel is suing for £200,000 compensation to cover the increased financial costs of caring for her son, and for its impact on her ability to work, according to her lawyer.
“I spoke with the midwife about Down’s syndrome screening. I had informed myself. I watched a lot of videos and read about screening,” she told the High Court, according to the Daily Mail.
“I knew from the start that I would agree on the Down’s syndrome screening and I would not make any other decision.”
The woman’s barrister noted that her client and partner had decided that if their baby was determined to have Down Syndrome, they would abort.
“Miss Mordel would have been offered an abortion and she and her partner, Aleksander’s father Lukasz Cieciura, agreed they would have terminated the pregnancy,” the lawyer said.
Far from it, the woman gave birth to “Aleksander” via cesarean section at
the Royal Berkshire Hospital in January of 2015 — she was said to be “very upset and angry,” when the child was diagnosed with Down’s.
“I was reassured so many times everything was all right, that the pregnancy was fine,” Mordel added.
The NHS is insistent that the mother did not specify that she wanted the test, which carries a miscarriage risk. But even though this specification was listed on Mordel’s patient notes, she is still convinced that she opted for the screening.
“Down’s screening declined” the sonographer wrote on her record at the 12-week scan.
“Miss Mordel must have realised she had not had the screening,” the NHS’s lawyer added. “Not only did her copy of the handheld notes contain the scan report saying that Down’s screening had been declined, but she must have realised that she had never had the result of the screening.”
About one in every 1,000 babies born in the UK will have Down Syndrome, which is caused by the development of an extra chromosome 21 in the cells. Life expectancy for people with Down’s is around 50 to 60 years old.