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Parents sue for $2.5m over birth defect

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/09/2016 Sarah Motherwell

Gold Coast parents who say they would have aborted their daughter if they knew she had a severe brain defect are suing the medical professionals who allegedly failed to identify the condition for $2.5 million in damages.

Regan Hooker and Wayne Ball's daughter Aria, who is now two, was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome during an MRI in June 2014.

The couple who are originally from New Zealand, claim sonographer Kim Andrews and specialist radiologist Greg Duncombe of Queensland Maternal Fetal Medicine in Southport should have detected and warned them about Aria's abnormality at the 19 week ultrasound in September 2013.

They also claim obstetrician Penelope Isherwood did not warn them of the condition and that none of the medical professionals involved suggested a repeat ultrasound at 22 weeks gestation or a foetal MRI at 26 weeks.

In papers filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Ms Hooker and Mr Ball say they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had been told about the abnormality and continue to suffer financially and emotionally being parents of a child with severe disabilities.

A GoFundMe page set up by Aria's parents says she suffers from impaired vision, hearing loss, scoliosis, a dislocated hip and developmental delays on a daily basis.

As both Ms Hooker, 37, and Mr Ball, 41, are New Zealand citizens they are not entitled to government support to pay for Aria's medical treatment.

"I would love to be able to stay at home and care for Aria but it's just not possible with so many therapies and treatments to pay for," the page says.

Ms Andrews, Dr Duncombe, Dr Isherwood and Queensland Maternal Fetal Medicine are yet to file a response to the claim in court.

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