One grieving widow recently received a £100,000 medical negligence payout as a result of her husband’s untimely death by drug overdose while in hospital.
Admitted to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham in July of 2007 for a routine chemotherapy session as part of his cancer treatment, Mr Paul Richards received the incorrect dosage of a fungicide and died hours afterwards. The dosage on the medicine he was given, Amphotericin, was five times the amount recommended for treatment; between one junior doctor and two nurses, the mistake was not caught in time to save the man’s life. Worse yet the same mistake was made later that day with another patient, also resulting in death.
The foundation trust for Heart of England NHS, after admitting that gross failures in care had occurred, have agreed to pay £100,000 in personal injury compensation to the widow of Mr Richards. The Trust will additionally compensate the family members of the other victim of medical negligence and has also vowed to improve standards at the medical facility.
Often administered to cancer patients, Amphotericin is beneficial because their weakened immune systems can make them susceptible to a fungal infection, but as the medication can cause kidney damage the dosage levels must be monitored very carefully by medical staff.
One medical negligence industry expert commented that in some ways such cases as Mr Richards’ are quite tragic, since every trust has a detailed set of procedures in place for drug administration. This is especially true for highly potent drugs such as ones routinely used in chemotherapy, the expert continued, because of the high toxicity of the medications.
For three separate medical staff to make such egregious mistakes on not one but two patients indicates more than just individual mistakes but failures on a procedural level, the expert concluded.