A woman in the U.K. with a rare kidney disorder was given too much paracetamol by medical staff, resulting in her death, the Guardian reported.
The victim, Laura Higginson, was a 30-year-old mother of two, and for several months after her passing in 2017, her family was told by the hospital that she had succumbed to organ failure and sepsis. Once Laura's husband received the post-mortem report, however, it became clear that a medically negligent overdose likely occurred. And now the NHS is admitting some of its mistakes.
According to the Metro, local police are investigating the matter but don't have further insights at this time.
Based on the post-mortem report and later findings from the medics at the time, the administering of paracetamol – a pain and fever reliever – was not closely modulated to take into account the patient's size. For two consecutive days, hospital staff gave Laura a dosage too high for her "very slender frame," the Guardian noted.
After realising this, staff administered an antidote, but the evidence appears to show that such actions occurred too late or were ineffective. Again, the victim's family was not notified of these types of details and instead were given a premature or medically misleading cause of death.
"The [NHS] trust have now, after three years, admitted that administering [the] paracetamol overdose was negligent, however they continue to deny it caused or contributed to Laura's death," the family's lawyer stated, according to the Metro.
Though paracetamol is commonly sold over the counter as acetaminophen and is taken by people all over the world, in high doses, as healthdirect notes, it can lead to:
Because the patient also had a preexisting kidney condition, she may have been especially sensitive to paracetamol, even at a normal dose, another point that may have been overlooked by staff at the time.
As the investigation continues, new findings may be released to the public. In the meantime, if you or a loved one has been impacted by medical negligence of any sort, reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners to determine whether you are entitled to compensation.