Mom-To-Be Expected Whooping Cough Vaccine

A British mom-to-be asked for a whooping cough vaccination but received an MMR instead — and she got nearly $5,000 for the mistake.

Giving a vaccination

Photo credit: Hero Images/Hero Images/Getty Images

Emma Cave went to the doctor when she was eight months pregnant in order to receive a whooping cough vaccination. The next day, the clinic called to inform her that she had, instead, mistakenly received the MMR immunization — one that is not recommended for pregnant women. She was told that they could not guarantee that her baby wouldn't be harmed by it, causing her stress and worry.

A big mix-up

After she was told about the mistake, she was in and out of the hospital, especially since the doctors told her that they wouldn't know the vaccine's effects until after her baby was born. She was told that she had to wait until her baby was six weeks old to make sure that he wasn't harmed by the medical error.

At the time, her baby was deemed healthy, and she took action against the clinic. She was awarded £3,000, which is around $4,800.

Some feel that the award was ridiculous — unnecessary, and too high. A frivolous lawsuit, they say, especially since the child wasn't harmed. Others feel that the award was ridiculous in another way. How could they determine that there were no long-lasting effects at six weeks of age?

I think that she was right in requesting compensation for medical negligence, which caused her weeks of worry. And I honestly hope that her award didn't come with a limitation that she couldn't seek more damages in the future if complications come up.

As senior solicitor Kay Barnes said in reference to this case, "It was a mother's nightmare, an unfortunate incident involving negligent treatment which could have been completely avoided had proper care been taken."

I know that medical personnel are only human, and this could have been a far worse scenario, but it's still a mistake that should not have happened.

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Tags: immunizations

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