Birth defects linked to sedation in care homes


The BBC Radio 4's Today Programme has found a suggestive link between the heavy sedation of children in care homes in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and birth defects suffered by their children.

In a care home in Kent, 10 cases were highlighted where the ex-residents had given birth to children who suffered a range of defects eg: brain tumours, respiratory problems; blindness, learning difficulties and cleft palates.

It seems to suggest that children who were classed as "disturbed" in care homes during the 1970s-90s could have been given excessive amounts of a range of medication such as tranquilizers and anti-depressants which it is believed should not have been prescribed.

Ms Cooper, an ex-resident of a church of England run care home, Kendal House in Kent, was allegedly given medication at least 1,248 times over a 32 month period and involving a cocktail of 11 different drugs. All 3 of her children have suffered birth defects.

Ms Cooper has terrible memories of being held down by up to 6 members of staff in order for them to sedate her.

Jeffrey Aronson, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University believes that being given such a cocktail of drugs could cause genetic abnormalities which could in turn cause birth defects. "The fact that there were 10 of them affected…. is quite suggestive."

Tim Loughton, Shadow Children's Minister was shocked by the forcible sedation of children in care and said: "They need to look into these cases and see whether there really is a pattern of behaviour that substantiates far greater fears about widespread misuse of inappropriate drugs, forcefully imposed on young girls. If that does turn out to be the case, then we need to have a much wider view into what actually went on and whether this affects other homes as well."

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