It Should Have Been Different
Her life was an ongoing struggle. She achieved many things but every accolade came with constant suffering.
Life is a precious thing. For one woman though, the gift of life has been fraught with challenges that could have been avoided. Placing her trust in the wrong person—her daughter now fights for her life daily.
She Consulted A Doctor
For U.K resident Caroline Toombes, conceiving a child at the age of 30, had proven difficult. As her health had not been without complications, Caroline sought a doctor’s advice before taking this step.
Everything seemed to be going positively at first. Unknown to her at the time, though, she would come to deeply regret this decision.
The Doctor Was Complacent
He should have been more thorough, or at least less reckless with his advice. As a result, Caroline’s initial excitement at trying to conceive did not last long.
After being given the green light to ‘try’, this was soon marred by some puzzling exchanges with her doctor. She chose to trust him—a decision that would later haunt her.
It Got Stranger
Caroline was first troubled by her doctor when he told her to “just keep trying”. She understood this would increase her chances of conceiving, but found the advice to be a little “blunt”.
Regardless, she was happy to overlook this—but the next piece of advice she was given, would irreversibly alter the course of her life.
His Negligence Had Consequences
In modern gynecological practice, it has become a standard of care to advise pre-expectant, expectant, and pregnant mothers to take folic acid supplements.
These vital supplements have proven invaluable in averting fetal complications and have a wide range of benefits. On the flip side, as Caroline found out, not taking them can prove disastrous.
Her Little Girl Arrives
Blissfully unaware, Caroline accepted her doctor’s advice that “supplements were unnecessary”. She conceived a short while later. Her daughter, Evie Toombes, was born in 2001.
Born with spina bifida, Evie was destined to struggle with crippling health complications for the rest of her life. Tragically, these would not be the only battles the child would have to endure.
She’s A Fighter
Due to her condition, Evie is forced to spend most of her life connected to tubes. She additionally has challenges walking and must suffer the indignity of constant bladder and bowel problems.
Evie Toombes was no ordinary young woman though. Refusing to be stifled by her condition, Evie chose to fight back.
She Never Backs Down
Despite the adversities, Evie turned her love for horses into a career. Remarkably, she is a para-showjumper; competing professionally in both disabled and able-bodied versions of the sport.
Despite this, her health problems still drastically limit her potential. Not one to back down from challenges, Evie decided to fight for her dignity in a groundbreaking way.
People Thought She Was Crazy
Evie’s condition does worsen and she will need a wheelchair soon. Finding it unacceptable that her suffering could have been averted, she resolved to seek justice.
Wanting to ensure that others were protected from the same fate, her proposed solution was first considered outrageous and radical—instead—it created history and set a new legal precedent in the U.K.
The Legal Case
Taking her matter to court, Evie contended that, had Caroline been properly advised on the benefits of folic acid supplements, she would not have rushed her pregnancy.
The doctor involved chose to fight the case and argued that his advice was reasonable. This may have been a run-of-the-mill medical negligence matter—but Evie shocked everyone with her true argument.
An Unorthodox Strategy
Caroline’s testimony confirmed that if she had known about folic acid supplements, she would not have rushed to conceive so fast.
Essentially, this meant that Evie’s case was predicated on an argument that the doctor should never have allowed her to be born. The big question remained—how would the court respond to such a radical strategy?
The Court Agreed
Amazingly, Judge Rosalind Coe, QC, agreed and ruled that had Caroline been advised to take folic acid supplements, she would have delayed pregnancy, “resulting in a normal healthy baby”.
To cap things off, the court awarded Evie millions in compensatory damages. As momentous as this victory has been, it was not the end of her struggles.
The Struggle Continues
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Evie has faced new challenges. Unable to consistently gain access to lifesaving intravenous feeding and in-hospital treatments, keeping her condition stable has been an uphill battle ever since.
Evie’s resilience has always been her greatest strength and her effervescent character continues to shine in spite of these problems though.
A True Inspiration
Through all her adversities, Evie has weathered every storm and come out with some jaw-dropping accomplishments. Her numerous show-jumping awards were just the tip of the iceberg.
Additionally, Evie has also been recognized with a British Citizen Youth Award and is regularly featured in the prestigious Horse & Hound magazine. All this was still aside from her biggest accomplishment.
Her Story Continues
Being such an extraordinary young woman, Evie was presented with a WellChild Award for mentoring children with disabilities, and writing a children’s book.
At the WellChild ceremony, Evie got to meet the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Her story continues to inspire others. In line with her ethos, her motto is to, “find a way, not an excuse.”