In 2019, after a routine test for gestational diabetes, a woman and her baby, delivered by emergency cesarean section, died. Now the Cologne regional court has found a pharmacist guilty.
Cologne – A pregnant woman from Cologne drinks a glucose mixture for a routine test – a few hours later she and her baby, who was born by emergency cesarean section, are dead. The glucose from a pharmacy was contaminated. Around four years after this shocking case, the Cologne regional court found a pharmacist guilty on Thursday.
The chamber sentenced the 52-year-old to two years in prison on probation for negligent homicide, negligent bodily harm and failure to provide assistance. After 16 days of trial, the court was convinced that a “fatal mistake” by the defendant had led to the death of the woman and her baby.
Accordingly, the managing director of a pharmacy violated “generally recognized rules of her profession”. “While putting things in order,” she poured the rest of the anesthetic lidocaine hydrochloride, which she thought was glucose, into an identical-looking container with glucose. However, “pouring substances together from two vessels” is considered an “absolute no-go” in pharmacy, said the presiding judge.
Victims died of multiple organ failure
In 2019, a 28-year-old took the contaminated glucose mixture during a routine test for gestational diabetes from her gynecologist. Shortly afterwards she lost consciousness with severe symptoms of poisoning. The woman and her baby, who was brought in by cesarean section, died a short time later in the hospital from multiple organ failure.
Although the defendant suspected that lidocaine poisoning might be present after the 28-year-old’s rapidly deteriorating health, she did not inform the treating doctors of this, according to the verdict.
Another woman with symptoms of poisoning
Two days earlier, another pregnant woman had also consumed contaminated glucose, but stopped taking it after taking a sip because of the bitter taste. This woman was also taken to hospital with symptoms of poisoning, but then quickly recovered. The court classified this case as negligent bodily harm.
The pharmacist was originally charged with, among other things, attempted murder by omission. The public prosecutor’s office also stuck to this assessment and demanded a prison sentence of two and a half years. The defendant’s defense lawyers, however, pleaded for acquittal. During the trial, the 52-year-old German regretted the death of the woman and her baby, but denied any culpable behavior.
According to the verdict, the defendant has already paid a total of 75,000 euros to the deceased’s survivors for damages and legal fees. As a condition of probation for the 52-year-old, the court also set a payment of 20,000 euros to the children’s intensive care unit at the Cologne University Hospital. The verdict is not yet legally binding. dpa
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