In a landmark ruling yesterday, a High Court judge gave Evie Toombes, 20, the green light for a huge compensation payout.
Last month Evie sued her mother Caroline’s GP for failing to advise her to take vital folic acid supplements before getting pregnant. Evie’s “wrongful conception” claim said if he had, Caroline would have delayed conceiving and she would not have been born.
Judge Rosalind Coe QC backed the horsewoman’s case, saying had her mother, now 50, been told, she would have had a different and healthy baby. Despite sometimes spending 24 hours connected to tubes, Evie forged a career in showjumping, competing against both disabled and ablebodied riders, the court heard.
The compensation has not yet been calculated but her lawyers said it would be “big” to cover her care needs for life.
Evie’s barrister Susan Rodway QC had said Caroline, of Skegness, Lincs, saw Dr Philip Mitchell in 2001 to discuss her plans to have a first baby.
Ms Rodway said: “This was a very precious decision to start a family, because she herself had lost her parents when she was young.”
But despite discussing folic acid, Caroline said she was not told of its importance in spina bifida prevention and Dr Mitchell told her to go home and have “lots of sex”.
Ms Rodway said had she been properly advised, Caroline would have started a course of folic acid before attempting to conceive.
She would then have had a “normal, healthy” baby – but one who was a “genetically different person” to Evie.
The court heard Evie’s mobility was “very limited” and she would increasingly depend on a wheelchair. She also has bowel and bladder issues.
Michael de Navarro QC, for Dr Mitchell, denied liability, suggesting Caroline might already have been pregnant when she went to see him.
He said the GP claimed to have given “reasonable advice” about the desirability of folic acid supplements.
The case will return to court to decide the payout at a later date.
Evie has spoken of her issues on the ITV show Hidden Disabilities: What’s The Truth?
On her website, she describes her motto as: “Find a way, not an excuse.”
She said: “I was born with a form of spina bifida… but having a passion in life gives me purpose and direction.”