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Wrong syringe caused patient death


A 92-year-old patient died after an inexperienced junior doctor injected him with 100 times more insulin than he should have been given.

An inquest heard that Dr Nuzaimin Ahmad used the wrong syringe to dispense the medication, despite the presence of a warning sign near where it was kept. But Dr Ahmad said he had received no training on how to administer the drug.

The patient, Walter Johnston, had undergone surgery for an aneurysm in the knee and was treated by Dr Ahmad at Belfast City Hospital in the UK on 25 February 2005.

Dr Ahmad was called to his bedside as he was experiencing difficulties, including kidney failure.

Belfast coroner John Leckey found that Mr Johnston died from the injection, which contributed to a later heart attack.

Expert witness Professor Brew Atkinson, of Belfast’s Royal Group of Hospitals Trust, said in his report that measures have now been taken to safeguard against similar errors, including doubling the size of the warning sign and making it clearer which syringe is to be used for insulin.

The doctor, from Malaysia, resigned after the incident, returned home and was later suspended by the UK’s General Medical Council.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Belfast City Hospital:


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