The para-showjumping star was born with spina bifida – a condition where a baby’s spine and spinal cord fail to develop in the womb, causing a gap in the spine – and spends some of her days connected to tubes 24-hours-a-day.
Evie Toombes, 20, from Skegness, Lincolnshire, England, claims she should have never been born and she is suing her mother’s GP for millions in damages.
Despite her condition, she has built a career in showjumping, competing against both disabled and able-bodied riders.
Evie has also appeared on ITV’s show ‘Hidden Disabilities: What’s The Truth?’ and also met Prince Harry and Megan Markle when she won the Inspiration Young Person Award at a Well-child charity event in 2018.
Yet, she claims Dr Philip Mitchell is liable for a “wrong conception charge” after failing to advise her mother, Caroline Toombes, to take vital supplements before getting pregnant.
Evie says that if her mother’s doctor advised her to take folic acid supplements, to reduce the chance of spina bifida affecting her baby, her mother would not have gotten pregnant and she would not have been born.
But Dr Mitchell denies the claims stating he provided Mrs Toombes with “reasonable advice”.
The High Court heard how 50-year-old Mrs Toombes went to visit Dr Mitchell at the Hawthorn Medical Practice in Skegness to explain her plans on having her first baby in February 2001.
Evie’s lawyer, Susan Rodway QC, told the court how Mrs Toombes had been keen to start a family after losing both her parents.
She said: “This was a very precious decision to start a family because she herself had lost her parents when she was young.“They had been refraining from sexual intercourse until after they had received advice at this consultation.”
But despite discussing folic acid during the consultation, Mrs Toombes insists she was not told by Dr Mitchell of its significance in spina bifida prevention.
Mrs Rodway stated had Mrs Toombes been adequately advised by her GP, she would not have proceeded with her pregnancy as hastily as she did.
If she had been put off getting pregnant, she would have had a “normal, healthy” baby, but one who was a “genetically different person” to Evie, the lawyer added.
But Dr Mitchell denies all claims as his barrister, Michael De Navarro QC, insisted it is his defence that he gave “reasonable advice” about the desirability of folic acid supplements being taken.
It was his common practice to tell potential parents that 400 micrograms should be taken by those gearing up for pregnancy and all through their first trimester.
He claims he surely would have advised the mother to have a good diet and good folic acid levels and denies saying supplements were not necessary.
The court also heard how Evie’s mobility is very limited and will need a wheelchair more than ever as she grows older, whilst suffering from bowel and bladder. Despite her circumstance, Evie still educates children about invisible illnesses and works at Nottingham University