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Disabled woman sues her mother’s doctor

Evie Toombes and a horse
Evie Toombes and a horse Image credit: evietoombespararider.com

A 20-year-old woman is suing her mother’s doctor after being born with disability which sees her being connected to tubes 24 hours a day.

Evie Toombes is filing a lawsuit against Dr Philip Mitchell fore not advising her mum to take supplements when she was pregnant.

Toombes, from Lincolnshire, believes the neglect is the reason why she was born with spina bifida and if her mother was told she needed to go on a course of folic acid supplements to cut the risks of her being born with the disability she would had delayed pregnancy.

Barrister, Susan Rodway QC, told the high court judge she was suing the doctor for “having been born in a damaged state” and wants millions of pounds to cover the cost of her day-to-day living.

Mitchell, who was working at the Hawthorn Medical Practice in Skegness at the time, “comprehensively denies” he has done anything wrong and gave Mrs Toombes “reasonable advice” on her pregnancy.

Expected mums are advised to take folic acid supplements for the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy to limit risks of their babies being born with spina bifida.

Caroline Toombes spoke to Dr Mitchell in February 2001 to discuss making plans to have her first baby.

Mrs Rodway told the judge: “This was a very precious decision to start a family, because she herself had lost her parents when she was young.”

Mrs Toombes states she did have a conversation with Mitchell about folic acid but the doctor did not highlight the supplements are prescribed to lower the risk of a baby being born with spina bifida.

“He told me it was not necessary,” she told the judge. “I was advised that if I had a good diet previously, I would not have to take folic acid.”

Rodway said if Mrs Toombes had been told the importance of the supplements she would have delayed being pregnant and started a course of folic acid before trying to conceive.

“It is her evidence she would have read up on it and wouldn’t have attempted to become pregnant until she was satisfied that she had protected herself as much as possible,” Rodway told the judge.

If she had delayed pregnancy Mrs Toombes would had given birth to a “normal, healthy” baby, the QC added.

After she was born Evie Toombes was diagnosed with lipomyelomeningocele in November 2001, she has “very limited” mobility, suffers from bowel and bladder problems and will depend more on a wheelchair in later life.

Mitchell’s lawyer said the doctor gave “reasonable advice” to Mrs Toombes on folic acid before she was pregnant and although telling the mother a healthy diet lessens the importance of supplements he never said they were not necessary.

Evie Toombes is a keen horse rider and aims to one day compete in the Paralympics.