Case Study: Spina Bifida Due to Negligent Antenatal Care

Compensation: £120,000

Leila, 30 years old, Northampton

With JMW's help a woman has received £120,000 compensation following financial losses due to negligent antenatal care.

Leila gave birth to her second baby, Kevin, following a normal pregnancy and labour. At birth, it was noted that Kevin had a cystic swelling over the lower spine, which was immediately diagnosed as a neural tube defect (spina bifida). This was surgically repaired soon after birth.

Medical treatment during pregnancy

During her pregnancy, Kevin’s mother had three ultrasound scans, including the foetal abnormality scan at 20 weeks, but at no time was any abnormality detected. Although Kevin is only moderately affected by spina bifida, with no paralysis, his mother asserted that had she known of the diagnosis during her pregnancy, she would have chosen to undergo a termination.

Out of date equipment

The ultrasound machine used in this case was nine years old (these machines have a recommended maximum of five years use), but the hospital denied that that it was in any way sub-standard. They also denied that the scans had been undertaken in a negligent manner, claiming the radiographers involved were fully trained and experienced and citing a detection failure rate of 10%.

Kevin's illness and potential long term symptoms

Kevin’s bladder and bowels are affected by the defect in the spinal cord and he requires catheterisation four times a day and is often incontinent. He also requires frequent enemas. In the future, he may require reconstruction of the bladder, but will probably have to continue to self-catheterise. 

The case

Leila received compensation for financial losses arising from the negligent antenatal care she received. She gave up work to look after Kevin, who required a much higher level of care than a normal baby.


JMW Solicitors settled the case and Leila received £120,000 compensation.

Have you also suffered negligent care during pregnancy?

To find out more about making a claim for compensation following negligent care during pregnancy, contact our team now on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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