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Street mum of horribly disabled girl fails to sue lawyers in 'wrongful birth' case

By Central Somerset Gazette  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

Street mum Jo Chinnock had her High Court case against Veale Wasbrough thrown out after advice not to sue Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust over daughter Bethany's medical condition

Street mum Jo Chinnock had her High Court case against Veale Wasbrough thrown out after advice not to sue Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust over daughter Bethany's medical condition

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A STREET mother who has tried to sue lawyers who told her she had no case against the NHS for failing to carry out vital tests while she was pregnant has had her High Court case thrown out.

Jo Chinnock gave birth to her daughter, Bethany Chinnock-Schumann in 1998.

Bethany was born with an extremely rare chromosomal disorder, with her bladder outside of her body, near blindness and a string of devastating disabilities.

She died in 2009.

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Ms Chinnock and Bethany's father, Paul Schumann, believe their daughter's 11 years of suffering could have been prevented, and that a string of medical failures meant Bethany's condition was not picked up during Jo's pregnancy.

The couple claimed that medics at Liverpool Women's Hospital failed to give them the full facts when testing at 11 weeks' gestation flagged up a one-in-13 chance of a serious abnormality, they told the court.

In 2001, they tried to sue the Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust, alleging a "wrongful birth", but dropped the case after lawyers from Veale Wasbrough advised them they were unlikely to win.

The couple then launched a £500,000 case against their former law firm, claiming they had been given giving bad advice.

Veale Wasborough and their then barrister Karen Rea say that the parents' claim against them was launched too late and that Mr Schumann was, in any event, never a client to whom they owed a duty of care – a sentiment the judge, Mr Justice Dingemans concurred with. Mr Justice Dingemans said the family had received "appropriate and professional" support from their former legal team, who had done "all that could be expected of them," to guide the couple in their decision.

He ruled that there had been no breach of duty on the part of their former solicitors at Veale Wasbrough, nor Ms Rea.

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