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Case Study

Failures by sonographer at Croydon University Hospital results in serious genetic condition being missed

Helen Thompson settled a claim on behalf of Ms E in relation to antenatal care she received at a Croydon University Hospital.

At the time of the index events Ms E had three children and had previously had two terminations of pregnancy. 
In the index pregnancy, at her 12 week scan Ms E was not advised that the triple test for Down's Syndrome and Edwards's Syndrome were non-invasive tests. She declined screening due to erroneously being under the impression that an invasive test (which could cause harm to her unborn child) was required. Due to a lack of appropriate counselling she did not have testing for Edward's Syndrome.

At her 'anomaly' scan at 22 weeks, all of the baby structures including the heart, gastro-intestinal tract and thorax were noted to be normal. Although it was noted that some views on the scan were obscured, no plan was made to repeat the scan to check the structures.

Ms E's pregnancy progressed normally until 37 weeks when concerns were raised that the baby was small. However a scan was reported as being reassuring in relation to growth and the amount of fluid around the baby.

However, at 39 weeks a further scan suggested an excessive amount of fluid around the baby which can be associated with physical abnormalities of the baby.

Ms E gave birth to a daughter whom she expected, based upon advice and reassurance given to her during her pregnancy, was perfectly healthy. However, at birth Ms E's daughter was found to have dysmorphic features, abnormalities of her hands and feet and a large diaphragmatic hernia which caused her heart to be in the wrong side of her chest. Ms E's daughter was diagnosed with the genetic abnormality Trisomy 18 or Edward's syndrome. Sadly Ms E's daughter passed away at 9 days old. Ms E suffered psychiatric side effects of unexpectedly giving birth to a severely disabled baby who then passed away.

The Trust repeatedly failed to provide the images from the 22 week anomaly scan. However, it was argued that the large diaphragmatic hernia and the resulting incorrect position of the heart in the right side of the chest would have been evident on the anomaly scan at 22 weeks. This should have resulted in further tests and investigations being offered to check for fetal abnormalities and genetic conditions including Down's Syndrome and Edward's Syndrome, which would have been positive.

The Trust denied liability however Helen was able to negotiate a settlement in the sum of £10,000 for Ms E.

Contact us

For further information please call Helen Thompson on 03304606765 or email


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