Birmingham hospital admits negligence in drug overdose case

The widow of a man who died of a drug overdose whilst in hospital has been awarded £100,000 medical negligence compensation.

In July 2007, Paul Richards was taken into the Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham to receive chemotherapy. As part of the treatment he was prescribed the fungicide Amphotericin, but Kiran Tawana, a junior doctor, made an error with the dosage and two nurses, Catherine Kunasta and Vongai Gondo, did not double check it.

This error led to the patient receiving five times the recommended dosage and within hours he was dead. On the same day, another patient also received a fatal dosage and died.

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust admitted medical negligence and has agreed to pay Mrs. Richards £100,000 compensation. The other victim’s family was also compensated and the Trust said it would improve its standards. However, the drug can cause kidney damage and must be carefully monitored.

A medical negligence solicitor from KCJ said that this type of case was extremely tragic. All trusts have very detailed procedures for administering drugs, especially highly toxic ones such as those used in chemotherapy, and for 3 people to make such terrible mistakes that caused the death of more than one patient shows that there is an urgent need for improved procedures.

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