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Parents Triumph in Rare 'Wrongful Birth' Compensation Claim

Becoming a parent should be a joyful moment but, unfortunately, things do not always go according to plan. If your child is born disabled after doctors negligently fail to spot abnormalities during pregnancy, you should immediately seek legal advice. In one case, a couple whose son was stricken by a rare genetic disorder has won the right to substantial compensation from the NHS.

The boy was born with a genetic heart defect and has had and will continue to require multiple operations. His development is delayed and he suffers learning difficulties. In order to recover the additional costs involved in bringing up a disabled child, his parents launched a so-called 'wrongful birth' claim against the NHS trust responsible for running the hospital where he was born.

In upholding the couple's claim, the High Court found that a sonographer who carried out an ultrasound scan during the pregnancy had not received up-to-date training in detecting abnormalities. In conducting the scan, he accidentally shifted the position of the device, altering the view of the baby. Although experienced and conscientious, he had missed an anomaly that, if detected, would have led to further investigation. The scan had not been carried out to the required standard.

Although it would have been a difficult and unenviable decision to terminate the pregnancy, the Court found that the rational and level-headed couple would have taken that option had they been made aware of the abnormality and its likely impact on their child's life. The amount of compensation payable by the trust has yet to be assessed, but is likely to be a seven-figure sum.

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