The mother of a 4-year-old baby with Down syndrome is currently suing the National Health Service of the United Kingdom for what she interprets as a failure to offer her a prenatal disability test.
33-year-old Edyta Mordel from Poland claims that she would have aborted the pregnancy, had she known that her boy, Alexander, was to be born with Down syndrome, and wants $250,000 in compensation for the cost of raising him. The case is being termed as a “Wrongful birth,” according to The Mirror.
Mordel’s lawyer, Clodagh Bradley QC, told the London High Court that:
“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,” The Mirror reported.
Believing that the test had been carried out, Mordel said she was assured everything was going well 12 weeks into the pregnancy.
“I was reassured so many times everything was alright, that the pregnancy was fine,” Mordel said.
“I spoke with the midwife about Down’s syndrome screening. I had informed myself. I watched a lot of videos and read about screening,” she told the High Court, according to the Daily Mail.
“I knew from the start that I would agree on the Down’s syndrome screening and I would not make any other decision.”
Mordel gave birth to her son via cesarean section at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in January of 2015, and was reportedly “very upset and angry,” when the baby was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“I was reassured so many times everything was all right, that the pregnancy was fine,” she added.
The hospital insisted that Mordel did not make clear that she wanted the test, which also carries a miscarriage risk. And although this detail was listed on the mother’s patient notes, she remains convinced that she opted for the screening.
“Down’s screening declined” the sonographer wrote on her record at the 12-week scan.
“Miss Mordel must have realised she had not had the screening,” the NHS’s lawyer said. “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 realised that she had never had the result of the screening.”
The hearing still continues.
Down syndrome is caused by the development of an extra 21 chromosome in the cells, and about one in 1000 children in the UK are born with the condition.
Life expectancy for those affected is about 50 to 60 years.
Frank Stephens, a man with Down syndrome whose 2017 congressional testimony defending his life went viral amid the late-term abortion debate, weighs in on the topic in the video below.