Saturday, February 05, 2011

'Medics should be prosecuted' says father of teenage daughter who died of paracetamol overdose at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital

A grieving father has called for Doctors at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow to be prosecuted after his daughter died from a massive overdose of paracetamol painkillers, details of which came to light in a Fatal Accident Inquiry undertaken by Sheriff Andrew Cubie who ruled her death in 2008 could have been avoided - but made no recommendations.

The report from the Daily Record newspaper follows :

Grieving dad plans court action after paracetamol overdose leads to daughter's death

Feb 5 2011 Craig McDonald

A HEARTBROKEN dad yesterday called for medics to be prosecuted after his daughter died from a massive overdose of painkillers.

Danielle Welsh, 19, was given almost double the recommended amount of paracetamol at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital.

Her father John blasted: "The hospital staff have killed Danielle - why is no one being prosecuted?"

Danielle, who was just 4ft tall because of a condition that affected her growth, died from liver failure because of the overdose.

A fatal accident inquiry yesterday ruled her death in 2008 could have been avoided - but made no recommendations.

John asked: "What's the point in having a 12-day inquiry for the sheriff to sit on the fence at the end of it?

"He should be condemning the medical staff for their actions but he's basically saying, 'Mistakes have been made and that's it'. We are devastated - and that's putting it mildly."

John, from Glasgow, added: "I am a driver with the council and if I was to knock someone down, I would expect to be prosecuted. Why are medical people treated differently?

"They don't seem to be accountable for their actions, even when they get it badly wrong. There has been no action taken against those responsible - no sacking, no suspension, nothing.

"Our lives have been ruined."

He said that he would "definitely" be looking at taking further legal action against those involved.

In a written ruling, sheriff Andrew Cubie said Dr Shamita Das and pharmacist Lesley Murray should have checked Danielle's dosage as intravenous paracetamol was not commonly used. And he said nursing staff should also have checked the appropriate dosage for her weight.

Last July, Dr Das told the inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court that she prescribed an adult dose of intravenous paracetamol for Danielle on June 18, 2008, not realising how light she was.

The teenager was seen by 11 nurses and 12 different doctors and received 20 doses ofparacetamol. Not one of the doctors noted the overdose.

Sheriff Cubie said medical staff had "misplaced assumed familiarity" with paracetamol because it was so common.

He added: "There was no shortage of information about the intravenous administration if the medical personnel had felt the need to check. The tragedy is that no one did."

Greater Glasgow Health Board have since changed their guidelines.

But John said her family - including mum Margaret and Danielle's sister and brother, Catherine, 24, and Martin, 18 - had been left with "no faith or trust" in hospitals or doctors.

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