Linda Byford is aged 37 and has four children, Beyonce (20), Jaden (17) Shane (11) and Glyn (5). Beyonce and Jaden have the same father, Stephen Byford. Linda was married to Stephen for five years. Shane and Glyn have different fathers. Linda lives with Shane and Glyn in rented accommodation in Darlington.
Linda was previously employed as a care home assistant but following a back injury she was no longer able to continue that employment and is now in receipt of employment support allowance to financially provide for herself and the children.
Linda has always had an active sexual life and having regard to her age and disability she did not think she could cope with another child and as a result a sterilisation operation was performed in March 2014 at the Darlington Memorial NHS Hospital.
In September 2014 she visited the Crazy Horse Singles Club in Darlington and met an Italian man named Raimondo D’Inzeo. After an evening of heavy drinking Linda went home with Raimondo and they had sexual intercourse.
Linda has just consulted you for legal advice and informs you that she is now 13 weeks pregnant. She explains that Raimondo does not want anything to do with the baby and is to return to Italy and has suggested that Linda has an abortion. Linda is catholic and says it would be wrong for her to have an abortion and in addition she believes that would only be available to her if she was no more than 12 weeks pregnant. Having regard to her physical and mental health she is worried that she could not cope with the baby and is feeling depressed, although her doctor will not prescribe any medication because she is pregnant. She is worried that she may have a mental breakdown.
Having regard to her age Linda has become convinced that the baby has Down’s Syndrome, although on religious grounds she has refused an amniocentesis test to discover whether or not this is true.
Linda has spoken to a doctor at the Darlington Memorial Hospital who said that there would be no problem whatsoever in her now obtaining an abortion and at the same time they would ensure that a permanent sterilisation was performed and as a result he told Linda œthen you will be in exactly the position you want to be, although if you don’t feel able to do that then I really don’t see how we can help any further.
Linda tells you that the hospital told her that the operation had been successful and did not warn her of any risk that the operation may not always be successful.
Linda’s parting words to you are œeverybody seems to be saying like this is all my own fault, that hospital has messed me up, surely I can do something about this.
What is your advice to Linda, what remedies may she have and with what chance of success. Will your advice differ if the baby is born with Down’s Syndrome or if Linda does suffer a mental breakdown.