Taking the contraceptive pill caused my teenage daughter's stroke, says mother
12:36 GMT, 26 April 2012
Gemma Hill is studying chlildcare at college following her two strokes
A schoolgirl suffered a devastating stroke just weeks after taking the contraceptive pill for the first time.
Gemma Hill, 15, collapsed with a stroke after taking the popular Pill microgynon.
The stroke – caused by a blood clot on her brain – affected the teenager's speech vision and memory and left her unable to walk.
Gemma, now 17, had to use a wheelchair and underwent two months of intensive therapy but then suffered another stroke last year.
Her mother Maria Murphy said a doctor treating Gemma had told her the Pill could have been to blame because it can increase the risk of blood clots.
Ms Murphy, 40, from Leicester, said: 'I was horrified when he said that, but
ever since I’m convinced that was the cause. She suffered her stroke
just weeks after taking the Pill for the first time – it’s too much of a
coincidence for it not to be.
'I remember thinking, “I thought the Pill was harmless, but now my daughter is in hospital – unable to walk or talk”.
'It was heartbreaking to see Gemma like that, I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy. It’s every mother’s worst nightmare.'
Mother-of-two Maria suggested that Gemma should begin taking the contraceptive Pill in October 2009, just after her 15th birthday, when she suffered period pains and stomach cramps.
The mother and daughter visited their family doctor, who prescribed microgynon.
Around a month later, on November 12, Gemma returned home from school feeling dizzy and sick and began vomiting up blood.
Still smiling: Gemma Hill, 2nd from left, in the Royal Leicester Infirmary hospital with friends in November 2009
She was rushed to A&E at Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she spent the night. Doctors sent her home with antibiotics the next day, diagnosing her with a viral infection.
But just four days later, Gemma suffered her first stroke at home and was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
An emergency scan showed it was caused by a blood clot on her brain and she was transferred to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham that evening.
She remained there for a week but remained confused with badly affected speech and sight, no feeling in the left side of her body and using a wheelchair.
Maria added: 'One of the first things Gemma said to me after suffering a stroke was that she felt weird. She then had a fit in her hospital bed. It was terrifying.'
Gemma suffered a further five fits in hospital.
She was able to walk and allowed home in time for Christmas 2009 after undergoing weeks of therapy and medication. But in January 2010, Gemma suffered another stroke and had to use a wheelchair again.
She completed further physiotherapy and medication and returned to school – in a wheelchair – passing her GCSEs two years later.
Gemma back at the Royal Leicester in October 2011. She still experiences numbness on one side of her body
Gemma is now able to walk again and her speech and sight has returned to normal – but she remains numb on one side of her body and struggles to lift objects. She is now at college studying childcare.
Ms Murphy added: 'I am proud of Gemma, but her strokes have changed everything. She isn’t the girl she once was.'
She said she was horrified that the NHS was considering allowing girls as young as 13 to be handed the Pill without seeing a doctor.
Gemma with some of the medication she has to take daily to treat her condition
'I think teenagers under 16 should need parental permission and a consultation with their GP before going on the pill, otherwise they won’t be adequately informed,' she said.
'They’re just going to walk into their local pharmacist and say, ‘give me the pill’, and that’s it. It’s crazy.'
A spokesman for Pill manufacturer Bayer Healthcare said: 'We are sorry to hear about a young girl aged 15, who had a blood clot resulting in a stroke.
'The venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk is slightly increased for women taking Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs) when compared with non-users.
'This is a well -known class effect of COCs as is clearly stated in the patient information leaflet of COCs.'