A hospital has apologised to a mother forced to abort her unborn daughter after medics prescribed her acne medication which left the baby severely deformed.
Sarah Sharma, 28, did not realise she was pregnant when she went to hospital for treatment for a skin condition in 2011.
Doctors at Peterborough City Hospital failed to do a routine pregnancy test and gave her strong acne medication which poses a risk to unborn babies.
A 20-week scan later showed her baby had such serious heart and nervous system abnormalities she would not survive after birth.
Mrs Sharma was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to abort her unborn daughter who she had already called Indiya at 21 weeks.
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted staff failed to follow basic procedures when prescribing the drug and Indiya’s death could have been prevented.
Mrs Sharma and her salesman husband Varun, 25, who have since had a baby girl they have named Asha, have received an undisclosed settlement from the Trust.
But the couple, from Huntingdon, Cambs., said they have “lost all faith in the NHS”.
Mrs Sharma said: “Losing Indiya was devastating but to find out after that her condition, and subsequent death, could have been prevented is almost unbearable.
“I am pleased that the trust has now admitted that they made mistakes but what we really want are assurances that no one else will ever have to go through what we did.
“People place their trust in medical professionals all the time.
“It would never have occurred to me that they were not doing absolutely everything in their power to ensure nothing went wrong.”
She added: “We will always regard Indiya as our first born.”
Varun said: “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.
“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.
“However, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Hinchingbrooke Hospital for all their help and support during our loss, subsequent pregnancy and birth of our second daughter Asha.”
Mrs. Sharma had the aborton at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in January last year and a post mortem confirmed the baby had foetal isotretinoin syndrome caused by the acne drug.
Solicitors Irwin Mitchell had argued medics should have ensured Mrs Sharma was taking an effective oral contraceptive pill for at least a month before starting her prescription.
John Randall, medical director at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “After a consultation with the patient, clinical staff took a balanced judgment to start Mrs Sharma’s treatment.
“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.”
Anna Mannin, from Irwin Mitchell, said the trust failed to abide by British National Formulary and manufacturer guidelines.
She said: “This is a truly devastating case made all the more horrific given that Indiya’s condition and tragic death could have been avoided had the trust followed very basic, routine procedures when prescribing the acne medication.
“Despite the fact that this particular acne drug is associated with such harmful effects in unborn babies, medical staff failed to properly advise Sarah and heed the necessary precautions in place to protect her and her daughter.
“Appropriate guidelines are already in place that should prevent tragedies such as this occurring but clearly here the system failed.”