Ultrasound fails to detect spina bifida

Compensation: £120,000

Samantha, 30

JMW was able to secure £120,000 in compensation for a new mother after care failings meant that her baby’s spina bifida went undetected until after he was born.

Ultrasound errors led to Samantha, 30, giving birth to a baby with the life-altering congenital disorder spina bifida. Had the mistakes not been made and the abnormalities detected as they ought to have been, Samantha would have chosen to undergo a termination.

Samantha’s case was taken on by the medical negligence experts at JMW, who secured her £120,000 in compensation to help with care costs.

Old equipment used for an ultrasound

Archie was Samantha’s second baby and she enjoyed a healthy and uneventful pregnancy. She received the three routine ultrasound scans offered by the NHS, including the 20-week foetal abnormality scan and was told that everything was fine with the baby. However, the equipment used during these scans was nine years old, significantly exceeding the recommended five-year limit.

Spina bifida diagnosed after birth

After Archie was born,it became apparent that there was an abnormality with his lower spine. Doctors immediately recognised it as spina bifida, a condition that causes the baby’s spine to develop improperly in the womb, leaving a gap. Spina bifida can cause a host of problems for the child, including urinary and kidney problems, bowel dysfunction and physical disabilities.

In Archie’s case, his bladder and bowels were affected, meaning that he needs to be catheterised four times a day; he also requires treatment to help his bowels to work and often has episodes of incontinence.


Samantha sought advice from the medical negligence experts at JMW and a claim was brought on her behalf.

Although the hospital trust denied that the scanning equipment was not up to standard due to its age and that the radiographers had not acted negligently when interpreting the scans, Samantha was ultimately awarded £120,000 in compensation for the pain, suffering and additional costs she had endured as a result of Archie being born with spina bifida

If you or your baby has suffered an injury or condition because of medical negligence, contact JMW today to find out if you can make a claim. Call us on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our online enquiry form.


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