By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

LONDON, UK, May 4, 2009 ( – A couple who are claiming they were deprived of their chance to abort their disabled son are suing the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust for £1million in damages and compensation for the cost of caring for him.

The couple told the High Court in London that staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital should have detected anomalies in their son’s brain structure during an ultrasound scan carried out at 20 weeks gestation, claiming the scan was conducted in a “fairly light-hearted and casual manner” and lacked “proper focus and intensity.”

The court heard that the couple had difficultly conceiving naturally but that the woman had finally become pregnant after fertility treatment.

The son, now 14 years old and known only as X due to a court order preventing the parents and child being identified, was born with a rare brain disorder which resulted in mental and physical disabilities.

The couple’s lawyer, Robert Glancy QC, told the court that, despite the fact that the parents say they love and cherish their son, “The claimants contend, which is not disputed by the defendant, that if this major brain malformation had been detected and then diagnosed . . . then the pregnancy would have been terminated at that stage.”

Glancy added: “There is no doubt nothing wrong with having a relaxed atmosphere, or sending the parents away with smiles and reassurance – as the mother says they were – as long as the scan is carried out with proper focus and intensity, which this one was not, according to her.”

“The birth of X – however loved and admired he is – would not have occurred but for the negligence of the sonographer,” Glancy stated.

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust denies negligence and liability, insisting that there was no evidence of brain defects when the scan was carried out.

When asked why they waited so long to sue the hospital over the alleged negligence of the ultrasound technician and the “wrongful birth” of their son, the mother said that an article she read, ten years after his birth, on problems associated with prenatal scans prompted the lawsuit.

“I told my husband that someone should have seen this, and they should have picked this up,” she said.

It is not known if the son is aware or able to comprehend that his parents would have killed him had they known of his handicaps at the time of the ultrasound.

The court hearing is expected to continue through this week.

See LSN articles on “wrongful birth” lawsuits:
Couple Receives over $21 Million Dollars for “Wrongful Birth” of Handicapped Son

Singapore Woman Suing Obstetrician for “Wrongful Birth” in City State’s First Such Suit