Edyta initially asked for a Down syndrome screening but the NHS said she later declined it. Source: Facebook
Edyta initially asked for a Down syndrome screening but the NHS said she later declined it. Source: Facebook

Mum would've terminated baby with Down syndrome if she knew

Instead of feeling euphoric joy - Edyta Mordel was utterly devastated when her baby boy born was born back in 2015.

"I saw how difficult his life is and I would not have continued my pregnancy", the 33-year-old said in the witness box at the High Court in London this week, The Sun reported.

"I wouldn't want to have brought my child into the world like that."

Little Aleksander was born with Down syndrome - and his mother was under the impression that the diagnostic test for the condition had been done at her 12-week scan.

"I would not have wanted a disabled child, and I would not have wanted my child to suffer the way that disabled people suffer."

The court heard that Edyta initially asked for a Down syndrome screening - but when later asked by a sonographer if she wanted one - she declined. Therefore, a scan was carried out without a screening.

But in his ruling, Mr Justice Jay said the sonographer who conducted the 12-week scan had failed to obtain her "informed consent" to go ahead without the Down syndrome screening.

When Edyta was told of her son's 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 National Health Service in the UK for "wrongful birth", claiming that if she had the screening and Down's was confirmed, she would have aborted her unborn son.

However, doctors claimed that Edyta had declined to have Down syndrome screening which is why it was not undertaken.

Although she had been booked in to have the test, they said 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.

But Edyta, who has English is her second language, 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 Edyta informed consent to going ahead without screening.

Her initial question to Edyta had been "abrupt" and her follow-up did not go far enough, he said.

The judge added that Edyta had failed to process the question and her reflex response was to say no, he added.

"She knew, or ought to have known, that Edyta 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."

He said that, at a further appointment, Edyta'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 Edyta is entitled to a damages payout from the NHS Trust, with her lawyers claiming that she should get more than £200,000 ($A363,000).

"Some parents have absolute ethical objections to termination of pregnancy"
Since giving birth to her boy, Edyta has devoted herself to caring for her son, who was an unplanned pregnancy.

Edyta's lawyers said her payout would be used to cover the increased costs of bringing up a child with Down's.

"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," the judge added.

"Some parents have absolute ethical objections to termination of pregnancy, and for them the discussion begins and ends at that point.

"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."

This story originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.

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