'I should never have been born’: Skegness para-showjumper, 20, with spina bifida suing mother's GP

A Skegness para-showjumper with a form of spina bifida is seeking damages from a GP over claims he failed to recommend doses of folic acid to her mother.

Evie pictured with her mum, Caroline.

Evie Toombes, 20, of Skegness, is bringing a claim at the High Court in London over her own 'wrongful conception and birth'. alleging Dr Philip Mitchell negligently failed to advise her mother, Caroline Toombes, to increase her intake of folic acid.

Dr Mitchell, who worked at the Hawthorn Medical Practice in Skegness at the time, 'comprehensively denies' liability, claiming he gave Caroline 'reasonable advice'.

However, Evie, claims that if Dr Mitchell told Caroline that she had to take the supplements to minimise the risk of spina bifida affecting her baby, she would have delayed getting pregnant until she had done so.

Evie meeting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle alongside her brother Rocco after winning an Inspirational Child award.

Caroline, 50, had gone to see Dr Mitchell in February 2001, but despite discussing folic acid during the consultation, she claims she was not told of its importance in spina bifida prevention, the Daily Mail reports.

Evie claims that, were it not for the 'negligence' of the doctor, she would never have been conceived, and 'her damage and disability are due to this'.

Her barrister Susan Rodway QC said that if Caroline had put off getting pregnant, she would have had a 'normal, healthy' baby - but one who was a 'genetically different person' to Evie.

Spina bifida is a fault in the development of the spine and spinal cord that leaves a gap in the spine.

In the Uk, about one in 1,000 babies are born with the condition and most cases are detected before birth, at the 20-week scan.

After her birth in November 2001, Evie was diagnosed with a lipomylomeningocoele (LMM) - a rare form of spina bifida. Before the pandemic, was due to have a potentially life-saving procedure to enable her to get the nutrition she needs to stay alive.

Her mobility is said to be 'very limited' and she also suffers with bowel and bladder issues.

She will depend more and more on a wheelchair as she grows older, the court heard.

However for Dr Phillips, Michael De Navarro QC told the judge that it is the doctor's defence that he gave 'reasonable advice' about the desirability of folic acid supplements being taken.

It was his usual practice to tell prospective parents that 400 micrograms should be taken by those preparing for pregnancy and all through their first trimester once pregnant.

He says he would have said that if the mother had a good diet and so good folic acid levels anyway, supplements would be less important, but denies saying they were not necessary.

Para rider Evie Toombes, 18, has a rare form of spina bifida and, before the pandemic was due to have a potentially life-saving procedure to enable her to get the nutrition she needs to stay alive.

In spite of her disability she has continued to compete in showjumping, nationally and internationally, she educates children about invisible illnesses and works at Nottingham University.

The former Skegness Standard Champion as has even written a children's book about living with disability - winning her the Inspiration Young Person Award at a Wellchild charity event in 2018. when she met the Duke of Sussex and Megan Markle.

According to her own website, evietoombespararider, Evie describes her motto in life as: 'Find a way, not an excuse.'

She writes: 'I’m Evie Toombes, you may know me best for my background in para showjumping with my horse Daisy, or for my motto of #FindAWayNotAnExcuse, blog and work raising awareness for invisible illnesses.

"I was born with a form of Spina Bifida, which affects the nerves to my legs, bladder and bowel, but having a passion in life gives me purpose and direction.

"When I began sharing my journey and writing blogs I never imagined how many people were in the same situation, feeling alone yet embarrassed- until I began receiving messages telling me how much something I’d written had helped them.

"Pretty soon I realised that sharing all the things I was so keen to hide could have a positive impact and help towards a shift in perceptions of chronic illnesses.

"I am so keen to continue my mission and reach as many people as possible with my message of ‘Find A Way Not An Excuse’, and so far the support and help from people who have truly believed in me and my mission has made this possible."

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