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Widow sought answers after husband’s death from lithium poisoning

Brian had suffered from bi-polar disorder since he was young and took lithium every day. After a series of falls he was taken into hospital and his lithium levels measured. They were found to be dangerously high, but this information was not acted on, meaning that he continued to be given lithium while in hospital.

Brian’s situation deteriorated. He was prescribed further medication, which compounded the problem. Eventually the hospital noticed that Brian was drowsy and confused. Lithium toxicity was finally diagnosed but he suffered kidney problems and chest infections, resulting in his untimely death.

Brian’s widow came to medication error claims specialist Ally Taft for help because his medication had always previously been well-managed.

Brian was fit and active – even taking a holiday to Europe with his wife before he first fell ill. He was taken into hospital after a series of falls and increasing mobility problems. Quite correctly, his lithium levels were measured on admission. The results showed dangerously high levels of lithium, but unfortunately, this information was filed and not acted upon. Consequently, Brian continued to be given lithium whilst in hospital.

He became increasingly agitated and as a result he was prescribed several doses of a sedative, which compounded the situation. Then he was not properly monitored until it was noticed that he was drowsy and confused. Lithium toxicity was finally diagnosed. He was transferred to another hospital for treatment but deteriorated and suffered kidney problems and chest infections and died.

An inquest was held, and the coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure and noted concerns about the failures to act on the raised lithium levels.

Brian’s wife wanted to know more, and came to Ally for help. Expert evidence Ally showed that with appropriate treatment, Brian would have survived for another five years.

There are more than 40,000 prescription or medication errors affecting patients every year. We work hard to ensure that mistakes are never excused and that they never happen again. If you have suffered as a result of a medication error, our experts can help you with your claim –call us on 0800 050 1668 or fill in the form below.

 

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Ally Taft, Partner

Starting out as a physiotherapist, Ally embarked on her legal training knowing that she wanted to specialise in clinical negligence from the outset. Now a partner for Medical Accident Group, her experience and medical understanding have stood her and her clients in good stead, combined, as they are, with her determination to seek justice for clients whose lives have been devastated by clinical negligence.

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