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calendar   Wednesday - December 23, 2009

Woman dies after routine medical exam ….  just the tip of this medical iceberg

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to have a routine exam.  An endoscopy to be exact.  Usually a straight forward thing and I had one many years ago.  Of course, back home they put us under and we wake happy.  But no matter, I’d prefer not to be sedated anyway.  It’s a ‘routine’ that’s done thousands of times every year.  Piece of cake. Maybe.  Thing is ... I’m not home in the USA where I have (naive?) trust.  Accidents happen there everyday.
But I’m here and I read this sort of thing way too often.  That’s cause it happens way too often.

CORONER FURIOUS AFTER A WOMAN DIES IN “BURNING AGONY” FOLLOWING NHS INJECTION BLUNDER

By Fay Schlesinger
Daily Mail
December 23rd 2009

A grandmother died after ‘gross failures’ by NHS doctors who injected her lungs with a chemical that was ten times the recommended strength, a coroner ruled today.

Rosemary McFarlane, 64, spent ten days in ‘burning agony’ after receiving the lethal dose during what should have been a routine procedure.

The caustic chemical, phosphate buffered saline, burned the inside of her lungs.

The hospital’s usual supplier had run out of the PBS fluid and a pharmacy was asked to provide the solution.

It was bought over the internet by a junior pharmacist, who mistook ‘10x’ on the label to mean ten bottles of the liquid rather than its super-strength concentration, an inquest heard.

At that strength it is used for preserving tissue samples in laboratories and is unlicensed for use on the living.

Coroner Aiden Cotter launched a stinging attack on staff at Heartlands Hospital, in Birmingham.

Addressing the workers at Birmingham Coroner’s Court, he said: ‘I have dealt with far too many deaths from NHS hospitals in recent years.

‘We hold out our arms and trust medical professionals to inject things into us and the thought some people do not check something that could kill us is appalling.

‘You hold our lives in your hands every day when you are at work when people need to act professionally. Too many people are unprofessional.’

He added: ‘There are many people working in the NHS who are hard working and professional, but there are a significant number who are not.

‘The failures made by the doctors and the pharmacy team are gross failures. I consider they have sufficient causal connection to the death of Mrs McFarlane.’

He recorded a narrative verdict with neglect as a contributing factor.

HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY

Here’s a comment left by a reader of the Mail article above.

See that word ‘locum’ down there in the letter?  Well, that’s what I think about on Christmas Eve. Now the writer of course is referring to GPs.  But how about the techs who’ll be doing a procedure like an endoscopy?
Hey .... if someone whispers akbar-snackbar in my hearing, I’m not staying.  On the other hand .... while a lot of ice has been melting today, we’ve just had more sleet on top of the snow from two days ago.  Usually, we get snow and then it all melts away by the afternoon.  But not the last few days.  No buses were running here yesterday, and we didn’t see any today till afternoon.

Yesterday, a 12 minute trip took the wife’s cousin 2 hours she claims.  I think I can believe her because I’m familiar with the area where traffic was on hold.
The town had NO grit or salt or anything ready for this, and some folks had to abandon their cars.  And Winchester not being the most car friendly place anyway, lots of ppl found clamps on their wheels and have to pay to get released. 

I am concerned with the amount of foreign nationals employed by NHS in this country who do not have a good command of English - how are they supposed to understand medical records, drug labels and communicate with patients accurately? GP locums are a prime example.

This all boils down to hospital and primary care management with their umpteen government targets to meet, which quite often compromise patient care. Common sense doesn’t seem to prevail in healthcare anymore.

I’ve had to use our local hospital several times this year, and luckily I have had good consultants looking after me. I do ask a lot of questions, which maybe a nuisance to medical staff, but it’s my life in their hands.
Even a junior pharmacist and a doctor should be checking two or three times though that they got it right with such drugs/chemicals. Are we going to hear of over-doses of morphine next?

- Anon, Cheshire, 23/12/2009 09:53

So ... the weather and road conditions might force a cancellation of my routine exam. 

Stay Tuned and oh yeah .....

I WISH ALL AT BMEWS A MOST JOYOUS CHRISTMAS.

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/23/2009 at 04:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicineMedicalPersonalUK •  
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