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Claim for Wrong Drug Prescription won in High Court

In claim for wrong drug prescription leading to death a settlement in the order of £835,000 was awarded to the widow of the victim.

Colm O’Donovan (31) became ill in August 2005 with suspected food poisoning, and his wife, Patricia, called the out of hours medical service. The attending doctor with the service gave Colm an injection of Cyclamorah, but the following morning his condition had deteriorated. Colm collapsed as he attempted to get out of bed and started to suffer seizures.

Patricia contacted the medical service once again, and this time Colm was attended by a different doctor. The doctor diagnosed Colm’s seizures as a reaction to the first drug and administered an injection of Largactyl – claiming that it would control the seizures. Instead, Colm’s condition continued to deteriorate and, shortly after being attended by his GP the following morning, suffered a heart attack and died.

It was claimed in the subsequent action against that the medical service and doctor had failed to conduct a full examination of Colm. This, it was stated, would have revealed a serious illness for which Colm could have received treatment in hospital. It was also alleged that by giving the injection of Largactyl, the doctor accelerated a serious illness which eventually lead to Colm’s death.

The judge heard in the High Court that liability had been admitted by the doctor and the action against medical service was struck out. The judge was also told that an agreement had been reached between Colm’s family and the negligent party for a compensation settlement of £835,000, which he was satisfied to approve.