Drugs During Pregnancy


Five soldiers lose their babies... They all had the anthrax jab

By Mike Hamilton

THE curse of Britain's Gulf War babies is revealed today by the Sunday Mirror.

Feb 29 2004

Deaths, still-births, miscarriages, physical defects and sickness are all being blamed on anthrax jabs given to soldiers who went to Iraq.

In the case of 33 Field Hospital - an Army unit of 105 men and women who served in the Gulf last year - not one pregnancy has been trouble-free since the war. Among the victims were Lance-Corporal Andy Saupe and wife Alex, who lost baby Kye at just five weeks old.


FIVE minutes was all they had. Five precious minutes to say goodbye. Five minutes to cradle baby Kye in their arms before he died.

Lance-Corporal Andy Saupe was among 105 men and women serving with 33 Field Hospital who were given anthrax vaccinations before being called up for Gulf War 2.

Three months after returning home from Iraq he and wife Alex lost their five-week-old baby, born 10 weeks premature with growth problems and limb defects.

But they are not alone. The Sunday Mirror can reveal that since the war was declared over last May at least seven young couples linked to 33 Field Hospital have suffered pregnancy complications - most with tragic circumstances.

In fact not one pregnancy has been trouble-free.

As well as the death of Kye there has been one still-birth, two miscarriages, a forced termination and two premature births.

In every case one of the parents was given anthrax jabs.

The figures are shocking, especially when compared to the national average.

Among the general population, around one in 20 babies are still-born. One in 85 babies is born with some sort of physical defect. One in 10 babies is premature. Miscarriages hit one in four pregnancies.

Last night Kye's distraught mother Alex said: "We want answers.

"There have been too many problems in this unit for it to be a tragic coincidence."

33 Field Hospital was deployed to the Gulf at the beginning of last year and stationed on the Iraq-Kuwait border.

The unit - comprising medics, chefs, Royal Engineers, drivers, clerks and quartermasters - then moved up to Basra in southern Iraq.

Army sources say that in Gulf War 1 women soldiers were warned not to conceive within 12 months of various vaccinations being administered.

But members of 33 Field Hospital, based in Gosport, Hants - and other troops who served in the Gulf - say no warnings were given about anthrax jabs.

Experts now fear thousands of British troops who had the vaccinations face problems with having children.

The victims of 33 Field Hospital include:

-LANCE-CORPORAL Andy Saupe, 23, and wife Alex, 25, whose son Kye died after five weeks fighting for life.

-LANCE-CORPORAL Johann Haggerty, 28, and wife, Zoe, 23, whose son Joshua was still-born after a healthy pregnancy.

-PRIVATE Justin Bowen, 27, and his 20-year-old wife Vicky, and Army Nurse, whose son Scott was born premature and is still fighting for life.

-A ROYAL Engineer whose wife had to have a forced termination at five months because the baby was not developing properly.

-A WOMAN Fusilier who had a miscarriage.

-AN NCO whose wife, in her mid-30s, suffered a miscarriage.

-ARMY Medic Kirsty Wilson, 21, whose pregnancy was plagued by illness. Her son, Ryan, born eight days early, now suffers serious skin problems.

Last night the MoD was facing demands to stop anthrax vaccinations immediately and there were calls for the Government to hold a full public inquiry.

Professor Malcolm Hooper, a member of the MoD's independent vaccines panel, said: "This situation looks like a cluster and I am sure it is linked to the Anthrax vaccine.

"The numbers are relatively small and the Army will try to dilute them out with everyone else. But this is hugely significant and should not be ignored.

"Somebody should go down to Gosport and look at this problem carefully, not belittle people and brush this under the carpet."

Paul Tyler - a Liberal Democrat MP and member of the Royal British Legion Gulf War Group - said: "This sounds like conclusive evidence that the cocktail of vaccinations given to troops was totally unsafe.

"I'm afraid this is too much to be a coincidence. There should now be a full public inquiry - out in the open - into the inoculations given to troops.

"But instead there has been a constant state of denial from MOD officials and ministers over what amounts to a dereliction of duty and care to people serving their country."

Shaun Rusling, President of the National Gulf Veterans and Families' Association, praised the Sunday Mirror's investigation.

"It is extremely worrying that you have discovered these seven cases in one small unit," he said.

"Veterans across Britain are having problems but may not realise there is a wide scale problem until they read something like this.

"It is disgraceful that the Government will not hold a public inquiry into the erroneous vaccinations regime that is causing deaths and deformities in the children of war veterans."

Last night an MoD spokeswoman said: "Congenital disabilities are unfortunately common, affecting about one in 33 live births.

"In about two-thirds of these cases, no cause is found.

"The anthrax vaccine has been used for many years by both military and civilian professions, and no serious side-effects have been reported.

"People that are pregnant are advised to see a doctor on a one-to-one basis regarding vaccinations

"No advice was issued to military personnel with regard to conception in either conflict because no adverse reactions have been reported."

-The NGVFA's helpline number is 01482 833812.



LANCE-CORPORAL Andy Saupe had two anthrax injections 10 days apart in December 2002 after his unit was called up for The Gulf.

Weeks later his partner Alex became pregnant and the couple married a week before Andy was sent to the Gulf on February 16 last year.

While Andy, a chef, was in the Gulf, an initial scan showed Alex and baby were well. But when Alex went back a few weeks later doctors noticed serious problems. The baby was showing a lack of movement. His limbs were also not forming properly. As concerns about her pregnancy grew, Alex went into St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth for more tests and was also sent to see geneticists at Southampton General Hospital. Alex said: "Doctors were baffled by the whole thing and could not tell me what was causing the problems." On July 24 last year Alex and Andy were in bed at their Army home in Gosport, Hants, when she went into labour 10 weeks early. She said: "I was having really bad stomach pains. Eventually I got up and phoned the hospital and they said to come in. Andy borrowed a friend's car and we started heading to the hospital in Portsmouth."

On their way there Alex went into labour. "We pulled over and I got into the back seat," said Alex. "I gave birth and Andy had to deliver Kye. He did a great job although he has only got basic Army first-aid training. The ambulance got there soon afterwards and they had to perform CPR (heart resuscitation) on Kye. They rushed him straight to hospital and then I had to wait for another ambulance to come and get me."

Kye, who weighed just 2lbs 10oz, was taken into intensive care. His facial features were not formed properly and his limbs were "fixed". He had 10 times the normal level of fluid around his heart and dark patches on the brain. For five weeks Kye fought for his tiny life, but eventually doctors told devastated Andy and Alex to prepare for the worst. The couple then took the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life-support equipment. "Eventually they told us to say our goodbyes," said Alex. "I spoke to Kye and said, 'If you are going to go, you can go now'."

Before Kye died Alex and Andy held him for five minutes to say goodbye. Alex said: "It was heartbreaking - every parents' worst nightmare."

Alex initially thought they had suffered an unexplained tragedy like those that hit many couples. But then she began hearing about others in Andy's unit who had suffered miscarriages, had premature births or had babies born desperately ill.

Alex asked doctors if the problems could be linked to the jabs Andy was given. She was told it could be possible - that preservatives used to store the anthrax could be to blame.



LANCE-CORPORAL Andy Saupe, 23, and wife Alex, 25, whose son Kye died after five weeks fighting for life.

LANCE-CORPORAL Johann Haggerty, 28, and wife, Zoe, 23, whose son Joshua was still-born after a healthy pregnancy.

A ROYAL Engineer whose wife had to have a forced termination at five months because the baby was not developing properly.

A WOMAN Fusilier who had a miscarriage.

AN NCO whose wife, in her mid-30s, suffered a miscarriage.

PRIVATE Justin Bowen, 27, and Army Nurse wife Vicky, 20, whose son Scott was born premature and fighting for life.

ARMY Medic Kirsty Wilson, 21, whose pregnancy was plagued by illness. Her son, Ryan, now suffers serious skin problems