Coroner returns a Neglect (Narrative) Verdict against an NHS Trust

Following an eight day inquest at North London Coroner’s Court , the Coroner, Andrew Walker  found that there had been neglect by Northwick Park Hospital in administering penicillin to a child with a known allergy to the drug.

The child had already wrongly been administered three doses of penicillin during a hospital admission in November 2011.After the drug had been stopped, she was administered a further dose of penicillin two days later, in error. She was transferred to Great Ormond Street hospital as her condition deteriorated, where she was successfully treated for several weeks and then returned to Northwick Park Hospital for discharge in a few days.

The child, on the second admission was again given a dose of penicillin in error but before the mistake was found , she was administered a further dose of penicillin ,this time twice the amount. She rapidly became unwell and developed a rash which resulted in Stevens Johnson syndrome She was transferred back to Great Ormond Street hospital where she died a few days later. The child was also on anti- convulsant drugs for a long term condition and it was submitted on behalf of the Trust that these could have caused the Stevens Johnson syndrome. However ,the Coroner accepted the submissions on behalf of the family.He found that there had been a gross failure to provide proper medical care and attention for the child and that the penicillin had caused the syndrome rather than the anti –convulsant  drugs which the child had been taking for many years without an adverse reaction.

Leslie Millin represented the family of the child instructed by Redferns and Robert Dickason represented the NHS Trust, instructed by Capsticks.