Lindsey Shaw (32), a British mother, has sued a hospital in Middlesbrough because she believes that her four-year-old daughter Emily should never have been born. The baby was born in October 2014 and was found to have a serious birth defect. According to the woman, echoes made in the first few months of pregnancy have been misinterpreted.
“The doctors should have seen that a piece of brain is missing from Emily,” Shaw’s lawyer told the judge yesterday. “If the mother had known that she was going to have a severely handicapped child, she would certainly have had the early pregnancy terminated.”
The mother calls the hospital’s failure a medical blunder and claims substantial compensation because she and her husband have to incur excessive costs for the care of her daughter. Other than that, their lives have changed in one fell swoop since Emily came. The hospital is not yet aware of any harm. On the echoes, made in the 21st week of pregnancy, nothing would have been conspicuous.
After Emily was born, her parents initially did not realize that she was severely disabled. But in the first few months, she suffered epileptic seizures and was diagnosed with Aicardi syndrome. It is a rare genetic disorder that occurs in less than one in 2,000 births and especially in girls.
Children with the syndrome have mental developmental deficit, lung and eye problems, cannot eat on their own, cannot stand or walk and have an increased risk of tumors. Shaw’s daughter and her husband are in a wheelchair for the rest of her life and will remain dependent on medical care.
The mother says She Loves Emily with all her heart, yet somehow demands compensation: financially or otherwise, such as extra care. “It sounds harsh, but I’d rather not have her. Not only for myself but also for Emily,” she stresses. “We try to keep her as healthy and cheerful as possible, as good and evil as possible.” Shaw, who still has a healthy nine-year-old daughter, was not present in court yesterday because she had to take care of her child.
According to her lawyer, the doctor who interpreted the ultrasound at the time should have seen that there was a crucial fluid-filled area missing in the girl’s brain. “If the doctor had seen that, all the alarms would have gone off and no doubt additional scans would have been made. None of that happened. Ms. Shaw thought she was going to have a perfectly healthy baby. Unfortunately, the reality has turned out differently.”
The case was only explained by the parties concerned yesterday. The woman’s lawyer read a brief statement on her behalf. “If I had known at an early stage what my baby was suffering, I would have had to make the most difficult decision of my life: an abortion.” The content will be discussed at a later stage. According to British media, a date for this has not yet been set.