Mum's Acne Medication Damaged Her Unborn Baby

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

Mum's acne drugs damaged her unborn baby and forced her to undergo termination

A mum had to have a heartbreaking termination after the acne medication she was prescribed by a hospital severely damaged her unborn baby.

Sarah Sharma, 27, was prescribed Roaccutane by doctors at Peterborough City Hospital – but sufficient tests were not carried out to check she was not pregnant.

The drugs caused her unborn baby girl to suffer massive nervous system abnormalities in the womb and Sarah was advised to terminate her pregnancy at 21 weeks.

Women are supposed to take a pregnancy test before using Roaccutane, and are advised to use two forms of contraception while they are on the drug. The Daily Mail reports that Sarah had been given one test at the hospital, which came back negative, but further tests were not carried out to ensure it was safe for her to take the drug.

Sarah did not know she was pregnant when she was first prescribed Roaccutane, but fell ill within weeks of taking it.

The hospital have now changed their procedures, and make woman take two pregnancy tests a month apart before being given Roaccutane.

Sarah told reporters at the Hunts Post that it had been an 'incredibly difficult year' for her and her husband Varun, but that she wanted to speak out about the dangers of Roaccutane for the benefit of other women.

"Losing Indiya [her unborn baby] was devastating but to find after that her condition and subsequent death could have been prevented is almost unbearable," she said.

Her husband said he had lost all faith in the NHS as a result of Sarah's ordeal.

"As a husband and a father, it was heart breaking 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," he said.

"I lost all faith in the NHS the day Indiya was born sleeping. They were meant to improve my wife's health but instead they broke her."

The couple have since had a second daughter, Asha, and Varun said he wanted to express his sincere thanks to Hinchingbrooke Hospital for all their help and support during their loss, and their subsequent pregnancy with Asha.

John Randall, medical director at the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS trust, apologised for the trauma the family experienced.

"After a consultation with the patient, clinical staff took a balanced judgment to start Mrs Sharma's treatment," he said.

"This was after results came back negative from a pregnancy test and conversations were held with Mrs Sharma about contraception. 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."

"I'd like to reassure patients that we have taken every precaution to ensure this doesn't happen again," he added.

Mr and Mrs Sharma were awarded an undisclosed fee from Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, some of which they donated to Hinchingbrooke Hospital .

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