SEDATION LINKED TO BIRTH DEFECTS
Girls who were sedated at a care home have had babies with birth defects7th April 2009
Ten girls who were heavily sedated while living at a care home during the 1970s and 1980s went on to have children with a range of birth defects, a BBC investigation has revealed.
As teenagers at the Church of England-run Kendall House home in Gravesend, Kent, the 10 were restrained with huge doses of tranquillisers and other drugs, according to Radio 4’s Today programme.
It is feared hundreds of other girls who were in UK care homes during the same period and suffered the same mistreatment may also be at risk of having children with birth defects.
In a statement issued through the Church of England, the Diocese of Rochester told the programme it was unable to discuss individual circumstances for legal reasons but would co-operate with any future inquiry.
“However, if the police, social services or appropriate legal body initiates an investigation, the Diocese will co-operate fully with them,” the statement said.
“It would be inappropriate for the Diocese to initiate any internal inquiries since we are not qualified to do this. In any event, it would be essential for any investigation to be conducted both professionally and impartially.”
According to files from Kendall House, which is no longer a children’s home, girls were given massive doses of a number of drugs over long periods of time.
Former resident Teresa Cooper’s three children all have birth defects. Her eldest son was born with respiratory difficulties, her second son is blind and has learning difficulties, and her daughter was born with a cleft palate and a short lower jaw.
Ms Cooper, who left the home in 1984 at 16, was given medication at least 1,248 times over a 32-month period. This included three major tranquillisers, drugs to counter side-effects and anti-depressants, including up to 10 times the current recommended dose of Valium.
Nine other former residents of Kendall House, who all underwent similar drugging, have also gone on to have children with a range of birth defects, including brain tumours, learning difficulties and cleft palate, the BBC reported.