LONDON, November 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The mother of an autistic boy with hemophilia has been awarded £9,000,000 (approximately $12 million US) in a record-breaking “wrongful birth” suit.
Omodele Meadows, now 40, said that had she been given correct information by doctors, she would have aborted her child Adejuwon, now 6, early in her pregnancy. It was never her intent to give birth to a child with hemophilia.
After a nephew was born with the disease in 2006, Meadows had herself tested for the gene linked for the disease. She was assured that she did not have it.
Meadows assumed therefore that her offspring would not suffer from hemophilia and did not have Adejuwon tested before birth. After the baby was born and diagnosed with the disease, Meadows took another test and found out that she was indeed a carrier.
She then sued Doctor Hafshah Khan, who did not carry out the initial test, but did give Meadows the results.
Lawyers for Dr Khan had agreed to pay Meadows £1.4 million (approx. $1.8 million US) for care relating to his hemophilia. But Adejuwon’s autism, they held, was merely a matter of “bad luck” and additional damages should not be sought to cover the extra care the condition necessitates. Mrs Justice Yip disagreed and awarded his mother £9 million.
Britain’s daily commuter paper Metro reprinted Justice Yip’s remarks at length:
“Adejuwon would not have been born but for the defendant’s negligence,” the judge ruled. “Ms Meadows therefore would not have had a child with the combined problems of haemophilia and autism.”
The judge continued: “Had she known she was a carrier, she would have undergone foetal testing and would then have terminated this particular pregnancy.”
“The effect of the doctor’s negligence was to remove the mother’s opportunity to terminate a pregnancy that she would not have wanted to continue.”
‘“The birth of her son resulted from a pregnancy which was afflicted by haemophilia. His autism was bad luck.”
“‘I reject the submission that the losses flowing from his autism fell outside the defendant’s assumption of responsibility. […] It follows that I consider that the costs related to Adejuwon’s autism may properly be recovered. Damages will be assessed in the sum of £9,000,000,’ Yip concluded.
This is the largest “wrongful birth” payout in British history.
The judge seemed to anticipate accusations that Meadows was cashing in on her son’s misfortunes or that she wishes he was dead. She stated that the mother loved her child and had brought the lawsuit only because she wanted to give him a better life.
“I recognise that this case involves highly emotive matters,” said Yip. “It cannot be easy for any mother to contend bluntly that her child should not have been born.
“Her love for her son shone through from her written statements […] She had specifically sought to avoid bringing a child with haemophilia into the world, knowing the suffering that condition causes.”
The judge maintained that to acknowledge the fact that Meadows would have “terminated her pregnancy” had she known Adejuwon had hemophilia is not the same “as saying that Adejuwon is now an unwanted child.”
She said it appeared to her that Adejuwon was “loved and cared for” and that the burden of having to care for him was heavy.
“The burden of caring for him, though, is much greater than the burden of caring for a normal healthy child and extends far beyond purely financial cost. […] Although this is a claim for [Meadows’] loss, I do not doubt that the mother’s primary motive in bringing this claim is to provide a better life for her son.”
Dr. Anthony McCarthy of England and Wales’ Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) told LifeSiteNews that killing Adejuwon in the womb would have been wrong.
“The judge says that Adejuwon is very much loved and that the claim is not now that he is an ‘unwanted child’,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Wanted or not, everyone would admit that it would be utterly wrong to end his life because of his disability.”
McCarthy continued: “Surely our society can support the parents of disabled children without the deeply sinister suggestion that those parents should have been allowed to end those children's lives. There is nothing medical about facilitating this in the case of an unborn, any more than a born, child.”