Woman found guilty of drugging sick child

A WOMAN was yesterday found guilty of drugging a two-year-old girl as she lay ill in hospital.

Sarah Braidwood, 26, of Aberdeen, fed the child drugs as she was being treated at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.

Braidwood, an auxiliary nurse at the city's Albyn Hospital, closed the curtains round the child's bed and told staff she was changing her nappy.

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However, nurses intervened when they heard the child retching and choking and found Braidwood feeding her a suspicious "chalky" liquid. It was later found to contain dihydro-codeine and carbamazepine, which can kill a child. Part of a 30mg dihydrocodeine tablet was found in a bowl after the child had vomited.

Staff later found half a pill and crushed powder on the floor where Braidwood had been sitting and on the child's bed.

A police investigation found a spoon used to crush tablets in her handbag. Braidwood, had been prescribed dihydro-codeine for stomach cramps, the court heard. The drug has not been licensed for children under four. Braidwood, of Tillydrone, Aberdeen, had denied assaulting the child to her injury and the danger of her life, but was found guilty yesterday after a four-day trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Neil Shand, the fiscal depute, had told the jury there was clear evidence to bring a conviction against the accused.

He added: "Dihydrocodeine is not prescribed to children under the age of four; if it is recommended, the dose would be four times less than one of these tablets." The court heard dihydrocodeine is used to treat pain, but usually in older children and adults.

Carbamezapine is an anticonvulsant that can cause poor co-ordination and drowsiness, but can cause seizures if a child is given more than the recommended dose. Both drugs can restrict a child's breathing, which could lead to death.

Sheriff Douglas Cusine ordered psychiatric reports and bailed Braidwood until she is sentenced in May.