A mother is reportedly suing the NHS for not revealing her baby was going to be born severely disabled – saying she ‘would have had an abortion’ if she had known.
Amanda McGuinn and her husband Paul, both 38, are taking action in the High Court over ‘wrongful birth’.
It could result in Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust being ordered to pay millions of pounds in damages.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust denies the care offered to the McGuinns was inadequate
The couple, who run their own construction firm, claim doctors were negligent in failing to spot their baby’s ‘significant abnormalities’, including her very small head, before her birth in August 2008.
They were expecting a healthy baby, but Matilda was born with ‘profound microcephaly’, leaving her ‘physically and cognitively disabled’ and needing round-the-clock care.
The rare neurological disorder prevents brain development and causes intellectual disability, poor motor function, speech and vision, abnormal facial features, seizures, low life expectancy and dwarfism. The symptoms were similar to those associated with the Zika virus.
Although Matilda, now eight, is a much-loved child, the couple, from Lee, south-east London, say they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had been told about her condition before the birth.
Their lawyers say the NHS should pay for the extra expense of bringing up a severely disabled child, including the cost of the full-time care she will need for the rest of her life.
Angus McCullough QC, for Mrs McGuinn, told Mr Justice Jeremy Baker: ‘The risk that Matilda would be born with substantial disability could and should have been recognised well before she was born.’
Scans performed at 30 and 35 weeks into Mrs McGuinn’s pregnancy ought to have set alarm bells ringing, the barrister claimed.
‘With proper antenatal care, significant abnormalities apparent during ultrasound scanning would have been acted upon,’ he added.
Amanda McGuinnhe’s baby’s symptoms were similar to those associated with the Zika virus
Amanda and her husband Paul, both 38, are taking action in the High Court (pictured)
During the four-day hearing, the court was told that the couple would have ‘elected to terminate the pregnancy’ had they been made aware of the ‘risks of the baby being born with serious handicap’.
Mr McCullough said that if the findings of the scans – including that Matilda had a very small head – had been responded to properly, the couple would have been referred to King’s College Hospital and received counselling on their situation.
‘In light of the counselling that they would have received as to the risks of the baby being born with serious handicap, the couple would have elected to terminate the pregnancy,’ he told the judge.
But the NHS trust denies any liability to compensate the family, saying there was nothing wrong with the antenatal care given to Mrs McGuinn and no reason to refer her for counselling.
The trust also denies that any referral would have led to termination being offered or accepted on the clinical information that would have been available.
MailOnline has contacted the trust for further comment.
No value has yet been put on the claim but given the severity of Matilda’s disabilities, it could run well into seven figures.
The case, which was adjourned yesterday after being heard in part, will continue next month.