July 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A mother in the U.K. is suing England’s National Health Service (NHS) for more than £200,000 ($249,000 U.S.) for “wrongful birth,” alleging that health care workers did not conduct tests that would have revealed her unborn son’s Down syndrome.
Mordel, 33, says she requested the tests during her pregnancy and was devastated when her baby was diagnosed with Down’s after birth.
The case is legally classified as a “wrongful birth” because Mordel says she would have had an abortion if she had known about the condition.
Mordel is seeking compensation for increased financial expenses of caring for her son and the impact it has upon her ability to work, the report said.
She learned she was pregnant in 2014 and said she told a midwife at her first appointment that she wanted the Down’s screen to be performed. She thought the test had been done at her 12-week appointment and she’d been cleared of the risk for Down’s.
But the test was not performed, the NHS is arguing, and the sonographer had recorded “Down’s screening declined” in her records.
Lawyers for the NHS claimed that Mordel was offered the screening but had declined it and “bitterly regretted” her decision after Aleksander was born, something she disputes.
“I was always sure about the decision and I always wanted it,” she stated. “I spoke with the midwife about Down’s syndrome screening. I had informed myself. I watched a lot of videos and read about screening.”
Her attorney said the screening would have shown the high risk of Down’s, which would have been confirmed by further testing.
“Miss Mordel would have been offered an abortion and she and her partner, Aleksander’s father Lukasz Cieciura, agreed they would have terminated the pregnancy,” Clodagh Bradley said.
However, Mordel, who is from Poland, gave birth by C-section in January 2015 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and her medical notes noted that she was “very upset and angry” when Aleksander got the Down syndrome diagnosis.
NHS lawyer Michael de Navarro argued that Mordel changed her mind during the month between her first midwife appointment and the scan taking place. It is common for pregnant mothers to decline screening when they learn it carries a risk of miscarriage, he said, and Mordel was a young mother with a relatively low risk of a Down syndrome baby who had decided against the screening.
De Navarro argued that it was “inconceivable” that the sonographer would have put in writing that the screening was declined if that was not true. NHS guidelines meant it would have been considered harassment for a midwife to ask her again at a later appointment if she wanted screening.
“Miss Mordel must have realized she had not had the screening,” said de Navarro. “Not only did her copy of the handheld notes contain the scan report saying that Down’s screening had been declined, but she must have realized that she had never had the result of screening which she had been told to expect.”
About one in every 1,000 babies born in the U.K. will have Down syndrome, a report from the Christian Broadcasting Network said. The genetic disorder is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 and means a life expectancy of around 50 to 60 years.
Abortion is common with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, with a rate in the U.K. of more than 90%.
In 2017, Iceland claimed to have nearly eliminated Down syndrome, but this feat was achieved by the abortions of unborn children who tested positive for Down’s.