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The heartbreaking story of 4-year old Emily Matthews

Reported in articles published by The Mirror, The Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers today is the heartbreaking story of 4-year old Emily Matthews who will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair with only partial sight due to Aicardi syndrome which is a rare condition involving the absence of the structure connecting the two spheres of the brain. Emily’s mother, Lindsey Shaw, is suing the NHS for medical negligence and her case is being heard in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Wayne WalkerHer Solicitor Wayne Walker, a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Williamsons Solicitors, explained: ‘The reason why this case was investigated is to ensure that any future anomaly is identified or, if confirmation cannot be given, that mothers are aware of those difficulties.

‘Rather than those treating patients making decisions for the patient, the patient should have the opportunity to be told that there are problems, or that certain structures that are necessary were not visualised, allowing mothers to make decisions about their pregnancy when all of the information is presented to them.’

Emily’s mother, Lindsey Shaw, would not have continued with the pregnancy of her ‘beloved’ little girl Emily if she had known of her rare and crippling disabilities. She described that as the ‘most difficult decision for a mother to make’.

Emily MatthewsThe claim againist the NHS is legally termed ‘wrongful birth‘ and the NHS deny liability, pointing out the doctor had taken several scans which showed features which ‘looked like’ the missing element of the brain.

Aicardi Syndrome affects just 4,000 sufferers around the world and has a massive impact on development. It has left Emily partially blind, stricken by learning difficulties, unable to speak or walk, and having to eat through a tube.

Julian Matthews, barrister for Mrs Shaw, told Judge Jonathan Simpkiss an MRI scan would have detected the condition. Wayne Walker gives a detailed account of the medical negligence trial in his blog post.

Williamsons Solicitors have an experienced Medical Negligence team which you can contact on 01482 323697 or you can also use the form below.

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