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.
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Understanding Brian’s Claim
Brian’s medication had always been well-managed and although he later developed Parkinson’s disease, his wife helped to ensure that he took the right medication at a regular time.
Brian was fit and active – even taking a holiday to Europe with his wife, before he first fell ill in 2012. 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.
Brian became increasingly agitated and as a result he was prescribed several doses of a sedative, which compounded the situation. Sadly, he was not properly monitored until it was noticed that he was drowsy and confused. At this point lithium toxicity was finally diagnosed. He was transferred to another hospital for treatment but deteriorated and suffered kidney problems and chest infections. He died in September 2012.
An inquest was held in November 2013 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 pursued a clinical negligence claim against Lincoln Community Health Services NHS Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Expert evidence commissioned by Ally Taft showed that with appropriate treatment, Brian would have survived for another five years. Brian’s wife was eventually awarded £60,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
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 start your claim online now.
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