Settlement obtained for girl who was unable to have abortion due to treatment delay

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Amanda Cavanagh has obtained a five figure settlement for Ms K, a girl who was unable to terminate her unwanted pregnancy after administrative and clinical errors led to her procedure being delayed beyond the 24-week legal time limit for abortion.

Ms K discovered she was pregnant just a few days after her partner had ended their relationship. She was left feeling distressed and decided to not go ahead with the pregnancy as she was not ready to have a baby, with or without a partner. The hospital advised, following an ultrasound scan, that she was in her 15th week of pregnancy and gave her details for a termination clinic.

By the time Ms K was able to attend the clinic she was found to be in her 19th week of pregnancy which placed her at being 10 days further along than the initial scan had suggested.

Ms K was scheduled to undergo the medical termination three weeks later, at which point she would have been in her 22nd week of pregnancy. She was informed that she would be a priority due to the legal limit on abortions after 24 weeks.

Ms K was contacted by the clinic who advised that due to a lack of anaesthetic cover her appointment had been pushed back by six days. She was not warned that this delay could put her at risk of being over the legal limit for termination and was not advised to find an alternative provider.

Ms K attended the clinic to undergo the procedure but following a scan was found to be 24+5 weeks gestation and therefore had no choice but to proceed with the pregnancy.

Ms K required counselling and support to help her come to terms with the situation. She suffered a traumatic, painful and extended labour which resulted in a caesarean section following two failed attempts at induction.  She required considerable additional assistance from her family to help her with her physical and psychological difficulties following the birth and to help care for the baby whilst she recovered.

Amanda Cavanagh comments: “My client was left distraught and suffered mental and physical anguish having to continue with the unwanted pregnancy as a result of the various administrative and clinical errors made by the clinic. She trusted them to help her, after all the majority of their function is to help women in this exact situation by providing terminations of unwanted pregnancies.  As a result, my client now suffers occasional bouts of low mood and fluctuating depression. Damages in these cases are not designed to assist with the upbringing of the child, but to compensate the client for the pain and suffering and any out of pocket expenses associated with the birth and recovery period. They will also ensure that the she is able to source psychological help when required.”


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