Status: 28/09/2023, 16:04 p.m.
A pharmacist (M) sits in the dock between her lawyers in the district court. © Oliver Berg/dpa
After a routine test for gestational diabetes, a woman and her baby, who was born by emergency caesarean section, died in 2019. Now the Cologne district court has found a pharmacist guilty because the woman had made a "fatal mistake".
Cologne - A pregnant woman from Cologne drinks a glucose mixture for a routine test - a few hours later, she and her baby, born by emergency caesarean section, are dead. The glucose from a pharmacy was contaminated. About four years after this harrowing case, the Cologne district 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 injury and failure to render assistance. After 16 days of hearings, the court was convinced that a "fatal mistake" by the defendants had led to the death of the woman and her baby.
According to the report, the managing director of a pharmacy had violated "generally accepted rules of her profession". She had poured a residue of the narcotic lidocaine hydrochloride, which she thought was glucose, into an identical-looking container with glucose "while putting things in order". However, the "pouring together of substances from two vessels" is considered an "absolute no-go" in pharmacy, said the presiding judge.
A 28-year-old woman had taken the contaminated glucose mixture at her gynecologist in 2019 during a routine test for gestational diabetes. Shortly thereafter, she lost consciousness with severe symptoms of poisoning. The woman and her baby, who was brought in by caesarean section, died a short time later in hospital from multiple organ failure.
Although the defendant suspected that lidocaine poisoning could be present after the rapidly deteriorating state of health of the 28-year-old, she did not inform the attending physicians, according to the verdict.
Two days earlier, another pregnant woman had also taken contaminated glucose, but stopped taking it after a sip because of the bitter taste. This woman had also come to a hospital with symptoms of poisoning, but then recovered quickly. The court judged this case to be negligent bodily injury.
Originally, the pharmacist was charged, among other things, with attempted murder by omission. The public prosecutor's office had also adhered to this assessment and demanded a prison sentence of two and a half years. The defendants' lawyers, on the other hand, pleaded for acquittal. The 52-year-old German had regretted the death of the woman and her baby in the process, but rejected culpable behavior. The defense lawyers announced that they would appeal the verdict to the Federal Court of Justice.
According to the verdict, the defendant has already paid a total of 75,000 euros to the surviving dependents of the deceased for damages and legal fees. As a probation condition for the 52-year-old, the court also set a payment of 20,000 euros to the pediatric intensive care unit of the Cologne University Hospital. Dpa