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Birth defects link to sedation

7th April 2009

According to a BBC investigation, "hundreds" of young women who received huge doses of tranquilisers at care homes could be in danger of having babies who have birth defects. 

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Radio 4's Today programme discovered that ten former residents of a care home in Gravesend, which was managed by the Church of England, had given birth to children with birth defects. 

The women had been given sedatives while being restrained at Kendall House in Kent in the 1970s and 1980s.

A childcare expert said many more children in other care homes could potentially be at risk if they were given similar doses of sedative drugs.

Mike Lindsay, national co-ordinator for the Children's Rights Alliance for England, said: "Using drugs to control the behaviour of children was perfectly acceptable as far as their own professional understanding at that time went."

A statement released by the Church of England said it was unable to comment on the matter due to legal concerns, but added that "if the police, social services or appropriate legal body initiates an investigation, the diocese will co-operate fully with them."

According to data held in files at Kendall House, girls were given large doses of sedatives on a regular basis.

One resident was given sedatives and other drugs 1,248 times over 32 months. She has since had three children who all have birth defects.

 

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