A MUM who said she would’ve aborted her Down’s Syndrome son if she’d known before birth has won a huge NHS payout.
Edyta Mordel, 33, who was devastated when her son, Aleksander, was born disabled at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2015, says she would have had a termination as she “would not have wanted her child to suffer the way that disabled people suffer”.
She has since devoted herself to caring for him, but claimed she would have ended the pregnancy if antenatal screening had been conducted to show that her son had Down’s.
At the High Court today, Mr Justice Jay ruled against the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and awarded Ms Mordel compensation which could amount to £200,000.
He said the sonographer who conducted Mrs Mordel’s 12-week scan had failed to obtain her “informed consent” to going ahead without the Down’s Syndrome screening.
Previously, Ms Mordel’s lawyers estimated her claim to be worth more than £200,000, which would be used to cover the increased costs of bringing up a disabled child.
The Polish-born mum, of Reading, in Berkshire, worked as a production operator and her unplanned 2014 pregnancy with Aleksander came as a surprise.
During the trial of her damages claim earlier this year, her barrister, Clodagh Bradley QC, said Ms Mordel was concerned about her baby immediately after he was born by caesarean section in January 2015.
When told of his diagnosis, she was noted as being “very upset and angry” because she believed she had been given the all-clear after screening of the unborn baby.
She sued the NHS for “wrongful birth”, claiming that had she had the screening and Down’s was confirmed, she would have aborted her unborn son.
She said in the witness box: “I saw how difficult his life is and I would not have continued my pregnancy.
“I would not have wanted a disabled child and I would not have wanted my child to suffer the way that disabled people suffer.
“I wouldn’t want to have brought my child into the world like that.”
Medics at the Trust however claimed that Ms Mordel had declined to have Down’s Syndrome screening and that was why it was not done.
Although she had been booked in to have the test, when she saw the sonographer she said “no” when asked if she wanted it.
The hospital’s ultrasound reports system recorded “Down’s screening declined”, showing that she had refused it, they said.
But Ms Mordel said she believed all along that the screening had taken place and “declined” meant a high Down’s risk was not detected.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice Jay said the sonographer had failed to obtain Ms Mordel’s informed consent to going ahead without screening.
Her initial question to Ms Mordel had been “abrupt” and her follow-up did not go far enough, he said.
“She knew, or ought to have known, that Ms Mordel had indicated provisionally that she wanted Down’s screening,” he said.
“She knew, or ought to have known, that this was at the very least likely to be her expectation when she walked into the room.
“The sonographer should have been expecting a ‘yes’ answer but instead she heard the opposite.
“Yet this, on my findings, prompted no further inquiry.”
FAILURE OF DUTY
Ms Mordel, for whom English is a second language, had failed to process the question and her reflex response was to say “no”, he added.
From that point on, she fully believed that the screening had been undertaken and the baby was healthy.
He said that, at a further appointment, Ms Mordel’s midwife had failed in her duty to explore why the screening had not taken place when she initially agreed to it.
The decision means Ms Mordel is entitled to a damages payout from the NHS Trust, with her lawyers claiming that she should get more than £200,000.
In so-called wrongful birth cases, compensation is paid out to cover the additional costs associated with bringing up a disabled child.
The judge added: “Nothing I have said in this judgment should be interpreted as suggesting that the birth of a child with Down’s Syndrome must be seen as unwelcome.
“Some parents have absolute ethical objections to termination of pregnancy, and for them the discussion begins and ends at that point.
MOST READ NEWS
“Other parents accept the possibility of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome without a shred of concern or reluctance.
“The state expresses no judgments either way, but it is the policy of the NHS that Down’s screening must be offered to all expectant mothers, the premise being that many would wish to exercise their right to proceed to medical termination in the event of a diagnosis.
“These various wishes and decisions must be and are respected without comment.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.