Mother vows to fight on in £250,000 unsuccessful abortion case

Unsuccessful abortion

12.09.2006

Stacy Dow has vowed to fight on today after her landmark £250,000 compensation case was rejected. Stacy, 21, sued Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust after the unsuccessful termination of her twins five years ago.

The single mother, from Perth, wanted the money to help her with the upbringing of her surviving child, Jayde, who started school this month. Miss Dow claimed to have suffered "distress and anxiety" from the discovery of her continued pregnancy, and "pain and discomfort" when she gave birth by Caesarean section.

Loss of earnings

She argued she has suffered economically through a loss of earnings because she is a lone parent.

Unsuccessful abortion resulting in breach of contract

Unemployed Miss Dow also claims the NHS failed to properly carry out the abortion at Perth Royal Infirmary in January 2001, constituting a breach of contract.
But at Perth Sheriff Court last week, Sheriff Michael Fletcher rejected the claim against the trust.

He argued that Miss Dow's doctors had not given an express guarantee that her termination would be successful. Mr Fletcher said in his findings that it had been not necessary to decide whether the conversation between Miss Dow and her doctor amounted to a guarantee of success of the operation.

"In my opinion, in order to be held to have guaranteed the success of the operation, the doctor would have had to have expressly said that he was doing so," he said.
"He could not be held to have done so... because he used the word 'termination'.

"He would have had to have had the intention to give a warranty of success, and it would not matter a great deal what she subjectively thought the use of the word 'termination' implied."

The sheriff added that the situation would have been different if Miss Dow had been a private patient, as the doctor/patient relationship then became a contractual one.

Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust said it was not commenting on the outcome of the case.