Medical negligence

Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder

Since the 1970s, it is estimated around 20,000 babies have been born with disabilities as mothers, whilst pregnant, were prescribed sodium valproate. If this happened to you, you could be entitled to some interim financial compensation for the injuries sustained.

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Many of our medical negligence solicitors are considered leaders in the field with a significant amount of expertise.

Emma Doughty, our Head of Medical Negligence

Emma Doughty

Head of Medical Negligence

Ben Gent, our Principal Lawyer and Interim Head of Medical Negligence for Manchester

Ben Gent

Principal Lawyer and Interim Head of Medical Negligence - Manchester

Yvonne Agnew, our Head of Medical Negligence for Cardiff

Yvonne Agnew

Head of Medical Negligence - Cardiff

John Doyle, our Principal Lawyer for Medical Negligence

John Doyle

Principal Lawyer

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What is Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder?

Fetal Anti Convulsant syndrome is the term for many different Epilepsy medications taken during pregnancy that have had an effect on the baby in utero. The drug, Sodium Valproate, is commonly known by brand names including Epilim, Episenta and Depakote. The epilepsy medications given to women whilst they were pregnant are known as teratogenic, which means they can harm a baby during pregnancy. Babies exposed to valproate whilst in the womb have a very high risk for congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders, including congenital heart defects, spina bifida, limb defects and autistic spectrum disorders.

Scientific papers from as early as the 1980s suggested valproate medicines were dangerous to developing babies, yet warnings about the potential effects were not added to some packaging until 2016.

What conditions were Sodium Valproate given for?

Sodium Valproate is an epilepsy medication which was prescribed for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Pain Relief
  • Migraine
  • Headaches
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

Fetal Anti Convulsant syndrome is thought to arise because some of the medications taken to treat all the above pass through the placenta and into the developing foetus.

Am I able to make a Sodium Valproate claim?

If you were prescribed Sodium Valproate before and during pregnancy and you believe your child was negatively affected, you or your child may be able to make a claim.

Claims like this are often very complex and difficult to investigate, particularly when the medical negligence occurred many years ago. A specialist medical negligence solicitor can guide you through the process and ensure you’re supported throughout.

What is the Sodium Valproate redress scheme?

England's patient safety commissioner has said that families of children left disabled by Sodium Valproate should be given urgent financial help. They have called on the government to act quickly to help victims that had been prescribed the drug get the justice they deserve. This comes off the back of a review which found lives had been ruined because concerns about some treatments were not listened to. Ministers have now said they will consider and respond to the recommendations.

We can assist with assessing your individual case, advising on whether you are likely to have a claim and helping you to obtain an initial interim payment under the scheme (if you are eligible) whilst considering the appropriate next steps and investigation for your case. The government is yet to confirm how they will handle these cases but our legal expertise can help to navigate whatever comes next and whether the proposals are just and reasonable.

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, occurs when patients receive inadequate care from medical professionals, leading to the worsening of existing conditions or in some instances, the development of new ones. Despite patients expressing their concerns, medical negligence can still happen. In such cases, it may be possible to seek compensation.

Medical negligence claims can be intricate – they require knowledge of the medical conditions resulting from negligence, as well as the understanding of medical procedures and mistakes causing those conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to engage a specialised medical negligence solicitor to represent you if you choose to make a claim.

How Slater and Gordon can help

Our expert medical negligence team know the importance of supporting you and your family through this most difficult time and will be sensitive to your needs and challenges. Several of our solicitors are also ranked in independent legal bodies, such as the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We also work alongside trained midwives and nurses who use their expert knowledge to help with your case.

For more information, call us on 0330 107 5078 or contact us online.

Talk to us about your case

Call us now on:   0330 041 5869

Why choose Slater and Gordon?

No Win No Fee

We offer 'No Win No Fee' funding on cases of medical negligence, meaning there's no financial risk to you.

Talk to the experts

We have teams of legal experts who specialise in representing those who’ve suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence.

In-house medical experts

Our in house medical team provide us with advice and assistance allowing us to determine when and where your medical treatment became substandard.

Your local law firm

We’re a reputable National law firm with expert lawyers in local areas across England, Scotland and Wales.

Speak to one of our medical negligence experts today

Call us now on:   0330 041 5869
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