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Hospital apologises for fatal drug administration

Posted in: Medical Negligence Wrongful & Accidental Death 

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised for the death of Colin Whalley after health workers at Whiston Hospital in Prescot gave him a fatal dose of medication through a drip two years ago. Initially taken into the hospital for breathing problems, Mr Whalley was administered a large dose of aminophylline, which was pumped into his body in 20 minutes (instead of the intended 24 hours), which resulted in his death. Despite the hospital’s apology to the family of Mr Whalley, his wife Norma was horrified that she had to wait two years to hear from them.

Lengthy legal process made an apology impossible

The date for an inquest is due to be arranged by a coroner on Tuesday, which will investigate the circumstances of the incident fully. St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said that they accepted that the serious error played a “significant” role in the death of Mr Whalley and also apologised for the delay in apology to Mrs Whalley.  They said that due to the lengthy legal process, a formal apology was impossible at the time.

Mrs Whalley said that she knew immediately that the medication caused her husband’s death, saying: “I was speaking to Colin and all of a sudden he started sweating and he was shaking … By this time, 20 minutes had passed and the machine started flashing again and I just said ‘Oh my god, she’s overdosed him’.”

Hospital officials have written a formal letter to Mrs Whalley apologising for their failures.

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