Mother Suing for Her Sons' Autism

The Birmingham Post (England), March 6, 2002 | Go to article overview

Mother Suing for Her Sons' Autism


Byline: Jenny Hudson

A Midland mother who was prescribed powerful epilepsy drugs and had two autistic sons has won legal aid to sue the NHS.

The 30-year-old claims she was not warned that the drugs she took during pregnancy to control her epilepsy could harm her unborn children.

Both her sons, now aged eight and six, have autism and will need expensive care throughout their lives.

The mother, from Sutton Coldfield, who does not want to be identified, had been taking sodium valproate since the age of 20.

The drug, which has been prescribed for more than 30 years, is now linked to birth defects and behaviour problems.

A five year audit of all births to women who had been taking anticonvulsants, which is being published this summer, is expected to reveal the extent of the problems.

The mother-of-two, who is taking legal action against Birmingham Health Authority, said: 'When we decided to start a family, I asked the doctor whether I should stay on the tablets. I was told that it was the safest drug I could take during pregnancy.'

By the time the eldest son was 12 months old, his parents' concerns about his development were growing. He was showing no signs of trying to crawl or talk, buthealth experts dismissed their fears.

It was not until he was twoand-a-half, when a playgroup worker suggested he may have autism, that the condition was finally diagnosed. …

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