bannedA television advert which received 15 complaints from viewers has been taken off air because of the distress it could cause pregnant women and parents.

The advert by Newton-le-Willows based Michael W Halsall Solicitors discussed potential complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The ad featured a diagram of a pregnant women surrounded by the labels “Birthing Injury”, “Cerebral Palsy” and “Forcep Injury”, followed by a line drawing of a doctor inside an orange ‘warning triangle’ and an image of a woman surrounded by her family.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints from expectant mothers, parents of children with cerebral palsy and also viewers who felt it was offensive to medical professionals.

In its defence, the solicitors firm said the medical negligence sector of the claims market was an emerging one, but was not led by claims management companies or affected by fraudulent claims in the same way that other legal claims sectors could be. They considered that medical negligence could have life changing consequences and that a claimant’s main motivation for pursuing a claim would often be to obtain answers about their experience or prevent it from happening to others.

But the ASA upheld all three issues raised and today ruled the adverts should not appear again.

“The ASA noted that the complications in the ad were referred to in stark and dramatic tones, and set clearly in the context of the serious consequences for those affected and their families. We considered that injury and bereavement due to such complications would be a highly emotive subject for any sufferer, regardless of whether they were unavoidable natural occurrences or caused by clinical error, and that such subjects should therefore be dealt with sensitively.”

Read the full ruling here.