[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 15:19 GMT
Damages claim for abortion twin
Stacy Dow with daughter - Perthshire Picture Agency
Stacy Dow wants damages to compensate for Jayde's upbringing
A mother is hoping to win 250,000 in compensation after her twin daughter survived an abortion four years ago.

Stacy Dow, from Perth, was 16 when she found out she was pregnant with twins and decided to have an abortion.

However, when she returned to her doctor after 33 weeks she was told one of the babies had survived.

Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust said there had been nothing to suggest a child had survived and plans to challenge the claim in court next year.

The surviving baby, Jayde, is now four. Her mother is claiming the damages for the "financial burden" of her upbringing.

I still don't know if, or what, I am going to tell Jayde when the time comes. Maybe when she is nine or 10 I will sit her down and explain it to her
Stacy Dow

In a landmark legal case, lawyers will argue that as a result of the failed termination, she suffered loss, injury and damage... and suffers "an impediment in her ability to obtain employment in consequence of her care for the child."

On Wednesday, a date was fixed for the case to be heard at Perth Sheriff Court next March.

The abortion was carried out at Perth Royal Infirmary in January 2001 and Miss Dow was told that no live material was visible in her uterus.

She was then given a contraceptive injection and advised that it could induce side effects of weight gain and an erratic menstrual cycle.

Miss Dow claims she thought the injection was to blame for her subsequent increase in weight and the cessation of her periods.

But she returned to her doctor and was advised that one of the foetuses had survived and was seven weeks from full term.

'Distress and anxiety'

On 30 August, 2001, an elective caesarean section was carried out at Perth Royal Infirmary and Jayde was born healthy, weighing 6lb 2oz.

Ms Dow's action states: "As a result of the failed termination the pursuer suffered loss, injury and damage. She suffered distress and anxiety upon the discovery of her continuing pregnancy.

"She required to undergo an elective C-section. She suffered pain and discomfort in consequence of surgery.

"She has the financial burden of care, upbringing and aliment of Jayde. She suffers an impediment in her ability to obtain employment in consequence of her care for the child."

As far as could be clinically determined the pregnancy had been terminated. There were no features to suggest a second gestation sac was left
Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust

Jayde now lives with her mother and grandparents Douglas, 40, and Barbara, 41.

Miss Dow said she thought long and hard before deciding to pursue the legal claim because of the potential impact it would have on her daughter.

"I have got a child now that I wasn't planning to have and I believe the hospital should take some responsibility for that," she said.

"They should have known, or at least warned me, that I might still be pregnant when I left. It has totally changed my life and my parents' lives.

"I still don't know if, or what, I am going to tell Jayde when the time comes. Maybe when she is nine or 10 I will sit her down and explain it to her."

She added: "The hospital knew it was twins when I went for the termination so they should have checked even more carefully before sending me home."

Perth Royal Infirmary
The abortion was carried out at Perth Royal Infirmary

According to court papers, Miss Dow - who had been on the pill until it made her ill - was expecting non-identical twins.

Her action states: "This was caused by the fault and negligence of the medical staff. They ought to have known that further inquiry following surgery was necessary to establish the success of the termination of both foetuses.

"They had a duty to take reasonable care to establish that the termination had been successful. They ought to have known the contraceptive jag could have masked the symptoms of continuing pregnancy.

"In all these duties, the defender's employees failed."

Similar case

The health trust is defending the action, claiming that after the abortion the doctor "checked the cavity of the uterus and could feel no further products of conception.

"As far as could be clinically determined the pregnancy had been terminated," it said. "There were no features to suggest a second gestation sac was left.

"There is a recognised incidence of failed suction termination, particularly at early gestation. It's probable the procedure on 19 January 2001 reduced the twins pregnancy to a singleton pregnancy."

The trust has also stated in response that Jayde was born healthy, and that the sum being sued for was "excessive".

In 2001, Kim Nicholls, from Staffordshire, who was advised to abort her twins on medical grounds, won a five-figure-sum when one of the babies survived.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific