Paying for the Right to Life

January 05, 2022
Evie Toombes

A British court has just recognized at first instance the responsibility of a doctor for having allowed the “unjustified pregnancy” of a 20-year-old plaintiff, suffering from an irreversible pathology, the risk of which could not have been sufficiently measured at the time of the facts.

Philip Mitchell, a British doctor, has been ordered to pay several million euros to a young equestrian rier, a champion in show jumping, in her 20s.

Evie Toombes was born with spina bifida, a congenital condition that is a malformation of the spinal cord that has not properly developed.

The illness forces the young girl to undergo heavy treatments, in particular, requiring her to remain lying down for whole days. This disability, however, did not prevent her from rising to the highest level of the sporting discipline that she loves. According to Evie Toombes, all the ailments she endures have one culprit: the family doctor, Philip Mitchell.

His alleged fault was that 20 years ago, he did not properly advise Evie's mother, in accordance with the medical recommendations in force at the time, to take a folic acid supplement before and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, in order to avoid the malformation of spina bifida in the unborn child.

However,if the doctor had mentioned the risk incurred by her mother and the corresponding treatment, the latter maintains she would have “postponed the pregnancy,” which means that Evie would never have been born.

On December 1, 2021, a British court foun the general practitioner at fault and condemned him to compensate the equestrian champion for all of the moral and physical damage caused by her disease.

“In all probability, a later conception would have been that of a healthy individual, and the law provides that the plaintiff is entitled to claim compensation for being born in a damaged condition,” said the High Court of Justice of London.

Philip Mitchell's lawyers have appealed the December 1 decision, which further threatens the culture of life and, moreover, which makes the doctor responsible for the result, contrary to the law in force.