86-Year-Old Blames Medication for Loss of Three Children
Drugmaker just recently apologized for thalidomide effects
ANCHORAGE - For more than 50 years, Beverly Hendricks has grown and sold violets in Alaska.
Over the summer, the 86-year-old kept busy setting up a new store in East Anchorage.
Hendricks says staying busy helps her forget about a heartbreaking past.
She says a drug called thalidomide, given to her by a doctor in Seattle to help with morning sickness, took the life of her first child.
“It lived for 10 hours and then passed away because it had a heart defect,” said Hendricks.
Two years later, after taking thalidomide again, she gave birth to a sick 11-pound girl.
“So they should've known then that something was causing it, the baby filled up with water and was very large and of course died after birth,” she said.
Five years later, in the late 1950s, Hendricks and her husband were living in Memphis where she got pregnant with her third child. Her doctor gave her thalidomide to help with the unbearable morning sickness.
“That was a little girl and she passed away also at birth, she weighed 15 pounds when she was born,” said Hendricks.
She moved to Alaska after the third miscarriage, in part to get as far away from the horrible memories as possible and to begin a new life.
But on August 31 of this year, more than 50 years after the drug was pulled from the market, Hendricks’ nightmares resurfaced.
The German drug company Grunenthal, which developed and marketed thalidomide, apologized publicly to the mothers and the children affected by the drug.
At the inauguration of the Thalidomide Memorial in Stolberg, Germany, Harald Stock, CEO of Grunenthal, said he and the company regret the consequences of thalidomide.
“And our deep sympathy for all those affected, their mothers and their families,” said Stock.
The apology means nothing to Hendricks.
“It's terrible what they did, they should've tested that drug before they gave it to women,” said Hendricks.
“They should've apologized when they knew the drug had caused the problems.”