Baby born with Downs Syndrome after appointment errors - £1.5 million

‘Rachel’ and her partner ‘Oliver’ were awarded £1.5 million in compensation after their third child ‘Ella’ was born with Downs Syndrome due to an administrative error which meant Rachel was not offered testing for the condition during early pregnancy. Had Rachel and Oliver known that the baby would likely be born with severe and life-long disabilities they would have chosen to end the pregnancy as they were not in a position to cope with a child with such complex needs. After contacting the specialist medical negligence team at JMW for advice their case was taken on by partner Sally Leonards and they were later awarded £1.5 million in compensation to help with the costs of caring for Ella.

Mum not told of scan date

When Rachel found out she was pregnant with her third child she went to see her GP who made her appointment with the hospital midwifery team. Three weeks later Rachel had the antenatal screening appointment at the hospital when she requested the combined test for Downs Syndrome and signed a consent form for it to be done. The midwife who saw Rachel requested that a dating ultrasound scan be done because there was uncertainty over how many weeks pregnant she was. Rachel was told she would receive a further appointment by post for the dating scan and the blood test to check for the probability of Downs Syndrome. The midwife requested that the dating scan was arranged as soon as possible.

Rachel received a letter with an appointment for the dating scan which was some three weeks after her first midwife appointment, despite it having been requested urgently. Rachel attended the scan and was told she was 14+4 weeks pregnant. Rachel was then asked why she had not attended the scan that had been arranged some 11 days previously. Rachel was shocked that she was asked this as she has not been aware of any such appointment and had not received any notification of it.

Second appointment mix-up

The midwife attending to Rachel told her she needed to book an appointment for a 20-week scan and fetal blood abnormality test which would screen for the risk of Downs Syndrome amongst other conditions. An appointment was made but due to a further administrative mix up the wrong date was written on the appointment card. At the appointment several weeks later Rachel was informed of the mix up with dates and told that it was now too late for the Downs Syndrome testing as any results at this point would not be reliable.

Rachel and her husband were very concerned and worried about this second mix-up with the appointment. The hospital apologised for this error and an appointment with an obstetrician was offered but Rachel and Oliver did not take this up as they had been told by the midwife that nothing further could be done. When Ella was born five months later it was immediately clear to both her parents that she had Downs Syndrome and this was later confirmed by a consultant paediatrician.

Successful medical negligence claim brought

Rachel and Oliver were extremely distressed to find their baby was born with Downs Syndrome. As well as being a huge shock they were angry that the chance to find out about the high risk of the condition when Rachel was pregnant had been taken away from them due to the mix up with appointments which occurred not once, but twice. They wanted to challenge the mistakes that had been made and claim compensation to help with the cost of bringing up their severely disabled child and to give her some financial security. After their case was taken on by JMW clinical negligence partner Sally Leonards, Rachel and Oliver received a full admission of negligence from the hospital trust and £1.5 million in compensation to help with Ella’s complex care requirements.

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