A devastated couple from Cambridgeshire have received an undisclosed damages settlement after hospital failures caused their unborn daughter to develop severe abnormalities.

Sarah and Varun Sharma, from Sawtry, were left to make the heartbreaking decision to terminate the pregnancy after learning that their baby, Indiya, would not survive birth after Sarah had taken strong acne medication prescribed at Peterborough City Hospital. Cambridge News reports that Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have admitted that Indiya’s death could have been prevented if staff had followed procedures. Sarah was given the drug isotretinoin but there was a failure to follow guidance to ensure she was not pregnant.

She said: “At Addenbrooke’s Hospital they said she wasn’t viable for life. We were given no hope and decided we would have to do something before she could feel anything.

“It was devastating but it was the only thing we could do. It has been an incredibly difficult year for us. Losing Indiya was hard enough, but to find out that her condition, and subsequent death, could have been prevented is almost unbearable.”

They will give some of the money to Hinchingbrooke Hospital where Indiya was delivered at 21 weeks and where their four month old baby Asha - which means hope in Hindi - was born.

Guy Forster, a specialist clinical negligence solicitor and head of the Cambridge office’s clinical negligence team, said: “This is a truly distressing case which could have been avoided had hospital staff treating Sarah followed basic procedures. Every year we encounter failures in prescribing medication and, whilst many patients fortunately will suffer no ill-effects, for others prescribing incorrect drugs or incorrect dosages can have the most devastating impact. I would encourage all hospital trusts to review their policies to ensure their care is in line with best practice in light of this tragic incident.”