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Drug death was manslaughter: jury


Manslaughter by gross neglect killed a cancer patient after her doctor misprescribed a chemotherapy drug, according to a jury at Bristol Coroner’s Court.

It had earlier heard Dr Jacqueline James admit to prescribing Anna McKenna, 56, four times the amount she should have had of the chemotherapy drug Idarubicin.

Mrs McKenna, who suffered from acute myeloid leukaemia, should have received 60mg of the drug over four days. Instead, she was given 60mg every day for four days.

That error was compounded by the fact that staff at the pharmacy at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol failed to challenge the figures or screen the dosage, the jury heard.

Mrs McKenna died from complications that included fever and renal failure three weeks after receiving the first dose of Idarubicin.

The hospital trust says that it has now introduced “robust measures”, including having two pharmacists looking at each prescription, to tighten up procedures and screening practices.

Copyright Press Association 2009


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