Thalidomide: From Disaster to Recovery

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August 13, 2014 | 4 Comments


  1. Surprised not to see a comment posted on here yet – I remember the devastation Thalidomide caused way back then- the sadness and disbelief. I think pharmaceutical companies and Doctors should be acutely aware of the ability of all medicines to produce such horrors to humanity. It doesn’t matter if it is to one person or many.

  2. Have just discovered on Wiki that my mother was expecting me in the very year Thalidomide became a new drug being prescribed – 1957 . She didn’t take or need any drugs- but my word we are all so frighteningly close to being a victim of presciption drug damage –
    Doctors should think very carefully before putting any pregnant woman onto a drug – I wouldn’t even drink tea or coffee when I was pregnant, no blue cheese or raw eggs and not even paracetamol when I had a cold – realise not everyone can do without drugs but Doctors have a huge responsibility to ensure minimal and safe treatments are given to a pregnant woman. FGS!

  3. I was the picture of health striding amongst the hills with my dog the day before I was due to give birth. Having a baby was the most exciting event to ever have been thrown at me.
    I just did what I always did. I met a couple of girl hill walkers and, as I always say what seems to be the first thing in my head, we got chatting, and I said, I am having a baby tomorrow…much excitement, the hills are alive with the sound of…

    Fast forward nine years and my child’s life was wrecked, her University potential was wrecked, her social standing was wrecked – all because her fun loving mother swallowed a man-made pill which, whatever, it contained, had the capacity to induce weeks of systematic agony.

    I had to be a big girl, but, this child was too young to lose her innocence and childhood to meddling, misfits, who happened to sit in the kingdom of a surgery.

    When this child emigrated to Canada, at 18, and, after a year announced she had bought a Greyhound ticket to travel for three days from Ontario to Vancouver, I thought, good on you, but, it would be less of an ordeal to fly. I would pay her ticket. Her new ranch mates also offered to pay, but, no, I am doing this, she said, I am paying my own way……

    So, she gets off the bus in Calgary and as she is striking, she talks to everyone, like her mother does, and gets in a super sports car with a handsome bloke who drops her off at an Aunt’s in Vancouver. Said, Aunt, married to a Canadian Mountie, who had expected a trip to the bus station had, a moment……

    So, the point of this, narrative, is, to say, we all worry about our children and, of course, they have to learn from their own mistakes….but, when, swallowing a pill, and, nobody, learns from their mistakes, then it’s in the lap of the gods…..

    My girl is now a big girl, couragious, brave and gone. She dabbles in philosophy, she likes sayings and posts them to her friends on Facebook. I am a secret spy…..:) Her embodiment is her richness, no other of her hundreds of ‘friends’ come close.

    The biggest question, I think we are asking, is why do doctors, psychiatrists, whoever, is prescribing, prefer to think the worst of us as opposed to the best…….

    Was the doctor, there, when ‘the dad’ arrived with a grapefruit and a packet of large peanuts and a book about a perilous ship.. he drove for hours with his own duvet under his arm and at least a nice doctor gave him his room. He was an air ambulance pilot, after all. Journeys are second nature…

    You could say I was lucky, you could say, you are all still here, you could ask why I feel humbled, you could say is a godsend.

    But, the man who never let me down is broken. I am also broken. He has never stopped sending me money in ten years, he has left me our house in his will. But, in ten years I have never reponded because the hut with the boat rope hanging, next to our freezer, will always be there.

    And, nobody, will ever understand that.

  4. As a DES daughter have always been interested in Thalidomide story – in fact, DES has often been referred to as the “silent” or “hidden” Thalidomide, as adverse health outcomes of DES not readily visible.

    Here is excellent article, interesting in terms of Thalidomide, DES and, more recently, Gardasil !

    “In our day pills are becoming more and more sacramental. In this world, when things go wrong the problem is always down to our failure to understand rather than the company’s product.
    The wonders of these sacraments are sold on paper as glossy as that of the bible. They are sold on the basis of belief rather than evidence or science – there is no more access to the data behind the claims being made than is made for matters of belief. The claims must simply be believed or companies will set inquisitors … loose to hound the unbelievers. Anyone who dares question the orthodoxy immediately becomes a heretic.
    There was an uproar when the Church involved itself in science in the cases of Galileo and Darwin. There should be a similar uproar when business regulators extraordinarily take to making scientific pronouncements – but so far there hasn’t been.
    The state of healthcare in this regard has dramatically worsened in recent years. It seems that we are moving from a theocratic state through democracy to a pharmocracy.”

    DES Action Australia is now on Facebook!

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