Claim for the additional costs of raising the claimant’s son, A, who suffered from both haemophilia and autism. It is admitted that, but for the defendant’s negligence, A would not have been born because his mother would have discovered during her pregnancy that he was afflicted by haemophilia and so would have undergone a termination. It is agreed that she can recover the additional costs associated with that condition. What is in dispute is whether she can also recover the additional costs associated with A’s autism. The defendant’s position is that such costs are outside the scope of her liability because the service she was providing was only in relation to the risk of haemophilia.
Held: The claim succeeded. The Court of Appeal has decided in Parkinson and Groom that recovery for the costs associated with a disability not directly linked to the negligence is fair where the disabled child would not have been born but for the negligence and where the disability arises out of the normal incidents of conception, intra-uterine development and birth. I can see no good reason to distinguish this case as a matter of principle or policy.
Yip J said: ‘Once it is established that, had the mother been properly advised she would not have wanted to continue with her pregnancy, should it matter why she would have wanted a termination? Why logically should there be a distinction between the parent who did not want any pregnancy and one who did not want this particular pregnancy? In each case, the effect of the doctor’s negligence was to remove the mother’s opportunity to terminate a pregnancy that she would not have wanted to continue. To draw a distinction on the basis of considering the underlying reason why a mother would have wanted to terminate her pregnancy seems unattractive, arbitrary and unfair.’
 EWHC 2990 (QB),  WLR(D) 778,  Med LR 161,  PIQR Q4,  4 WLR 8
England and Wales
Cited – MacFarlane and Another v Tayside Health Board HL 21-Oct-1999
Child born after vasectomy – Damages Limited
Despite a vasectomy, Mr MacFarlane fathered a child, and he and his wife sought damages for the cost of care and otherwise of the child. He appealed a rejection of his claim.
Held: The doctor undertakes a duty of care in regard to the . .
Cited – Hardman v Amin QBD 2001
Henriques J said: ‘McFarlane does not affect the law so far as it relates to the wrongful birth of disabled children.’ . .
Cited – Groom v Selby CA 18-Oct-2001
The defendant negligently failed to discover the claimant’s pregnancy. A severely disabled child was born. The question was as to the responsibility for payment of excess costs of raising a severely disabled child, a claim for economic loss. The . .
Cited – Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
Cited – South Australia Asset Management Corporation v York Montague Ltd etc HL 24-Jun-1996
Limits of Damages for Negligent Valuations
Damages for negligent valuations are limited to the foreseeable consequences of advice, and do not include losses arising from a general fall in values. Valuation is seldom an exact science, and within a band of figures valuers may differ without . .
Cited – Parkinson v St James and Seacroft University Hospital NHS Trust CA 11-Apr-2001
A mother had undergone a negligent sterilisation, and in due course she gave birth to a disabled child.
Held: The right to bodily integrity is the first and most important of the interests protected by the law of tort. The cases saying that . .
Cited – Rees v Darlington Memorial Hospital NHS Trust HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant was disabled, and sought sterilisation because she feared the additional difficulties she would face as a mother. The sterilisation failed. She sought damages.
Held: The House having considered the issue in MacFarlane only . .
Cited – Chester v Afshar HL 14-Oct-2004
The claimant suffered back pain for which she required neurosurgery. The operation was associated with a 1-2% risk of the cauda equina syndrome, of which she was not warned. She went ahead with the surgery, and suffered that complication. The . .
Cited – BPE Solicitors and Another v Hughes-Holland (In Substitution for Gabriel) SC 22-Mar-2017
The court was asked what damages are recoverable in a case where (i) but for the negligence of a professional adviser his client would not have embarked on some course of action, but (ii) part or all of the loss which he suffered by doing so arose . .
Appeal from – Khan v Meadows CA 15-Feb-2019
Appeal from the judgment of Yip J who determined that the costs related to the autism of Adejuwon, the respondent’s son, following his birth may be properly recovered by her and assessed damages in the agreed sum of pounds 9,000,000. Adejuwon . .
At First Instance – Khan v Meadows SC 18-Jun-2021
‘ A woman approaches a general medical practice for testing to establish whether she is a carrier of a hereditary disease. Tests which are inappropriate to answer that question are arranged. A general medical practitioner when informing her of the . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 July 2021; Ref: scu.601106