NHS Hospital kills unborn baby by wrongly prescribing acne drug

11 June 2013 Last updated at 11:23 Share this pageEmailPrint

Woman loses baby after acne drug wrongly prescribed

A hospital has paid an undisclosed amount after a pregnant woman was given acne drugs that caused her unborn baby severe abnormalities.

Sarah Sharma, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, lost her baby after being given isotretinoin at Peterborough City Hospital.

The hospital said a pregnancy test was negative so she was given the drugs.

However, it said procedures had now changed so patients are checked twice, a month apart.

Mrs Sharma, 27, who named the girl Indiya following the incident in January 2012, said: “It has been an incredibly difficult year for us.

“Losing Indiya was devastating, but to find out after that her condition, and subsequent death, could have been prevented is almost unbearable.”

Mrs Sharma did not know she was pregnant when she was prescribed the drug.

‘Broken hearts’
She was told at her 20-week scan that the baby had such serious heart and nervous system abnormalities that she would not survive after birth, according to her solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

Her husband Varun, said: “As a husband and a father, it was heartbreaking seeing my wife go through the pain of labour, knowing we would never get to take that baby home as parents should at the end of it.

“We were left with nothing but broken hearts and empty arms.”

Anna Mannin, from Irwin Mitchell, said the hospital failed to abide by British National Formulary and manufacturer guidelines and ensure that Mrs Sharma was taking an effective oral contraceptive pill for at least one month before the prescription.

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted that staff should have realised she was in the early stages of pregnancy and that Indiya’s death could have been prevented.

John Randall, medical director at the trust, said he was sorry for the trauma the family experienced.

He added: “As a result of lessons learned from this incident, our procedures have changed so that any drug treatment will only commence following two negative pregnancy test results taken a month apart, when women have been using appropriate contraception in line with guidance.”

Mr and Mrs Sharma received an undisclosed settlement from the trust and plan to donate funds to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Cambridgeshire, where her care was referred following the errors at Peterborough City Hospital.

The couple have since had a second daughter, Asha.

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