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Chemotherapy Overdose Poisoning Case Study
Guy Pomphrey, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Minton Morrill, settled a Fatal Accidents Claim for £65,000 in NHS compensation acting for the deceased’s family.
Mr Anderson died as a result of central nervous system lymphoma. Before he died there was however a serious problem with an NHS overdose of toxic medication. Mr Anderson’s wife and daughter instructed our team to investigate because they were concerned about poor care and problems with the doctors communicating with them.
Mr Anderson had been receiving lymphoma treatment and had responded well. He was then admitted to Hospital for further preventative treatment with a powerful treatment drug called, methotrexate. This drug was to be delivered and flushed through Mr Anderson’s body by a special pump while he stayed overnight in a Hospital room.
During the night there was unfortunately a malfunction with the special pump Mr Anderson had been given. Despite Mr Anderson phoning the emergency help number he had been provided with no one attended. He became progressively more unwell.
The next morning Mr Anderson was found to have suffered a huge methotrexate overdose. His condition sadly worsened and he was admitted to Intensive Care because of multi-organ failure for 3 months. He remained in Hospital for a further 3 months before finally being discharged home. Because of the overdose Mr Anderson suffered from sepsis, kidney failure, a collapsed left lung and other serious problems.
Mr Anderson required extensive help and support from his wife whilst at home with activities of daily living. He was re-admitted to Hospital a few months later and it was found that central nervous system lymphoma had progressed leading to his death.
Mr Anderson’s family wanted to know whether his death was preventable and that the same type of basic avoidable mistake with the pump did not happen to anyone else.
We instructed an expert in Haematology to report on Mr Anderson’s treatment. He found that Mr Anderson’s care was sub-standard in numerous areas including a failure to provide assistance to him when the special pump failed overnight in Hospital.
Proving that these failures caused Mr Anderson’s death was, however, more complicated. Our haematology expert could only find that the methotrexate overdose brought forward Mr Anderson’s death by 3 months (he therefore suffered a reduced life expectancy) because even if the toxic overdose had been avoided the expert thought that the client’s central nervous system lymphoma would have still led to his death.
A Schedule of Loss focusing on Mr Anderson’s injuries and the losses that his 3 months of reduced life expectancy created was drafted and served on the Defendant.
NHS Resolution, on behalf of the Defendant Trust, put forward a number of lower settlement offers before finally agreeing to settlement of £65,000. At our request, Mr Anderson’s wife and daughter also received a letter of apology from the Hospital. This was important to them because it was from the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust who had taken the time to look into what had happened and acknowledged the failings.
This compensation included a substantial award of General Damages because Mr Anderson endured around 6 months of avoidable pain and distress from the overdose.
Mrs Anderson and her daughter held the Hospital to account for the sub-standard care provided and have raised awareness about toxic methotrexate overdoses. The compensation money will also provide them with financial security into the future.
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Guy Pomphrey and the medical negligence lawyers at Minton Morrill only practice medical negligence law and have renowned expertise in Fatal Claims cases.
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