Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Morphine over Dose

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Morphine over Dose

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Stack

But OAP died from natural causes

Following this incident the Trust carried out a full internal investigation and significant improvements to working practices have been made to help ensure this doesn't happen again

- Hartlepool NHS Trust

A TEESSIDE pensioner died days after she was given a potentially lethal morphine overdose in hospital, an inquest heard.

But doctors stressed that the accident was not to blame for 65-year-old Bessie Chesworth's death.

Mrs Chesworth, of Wollaton Road, Billingham, died from multi organ failure due to acute pancreatitis.

At her inquest yesterday, coroner Michael Sheffield recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

The hearing in Middlesbrough heard how Mrs Chesworth was given 45mls of morphine in less than three minutes - 200 times her recommended dosage of 5mls an hour.

The pensioner had been admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees on November 15, 2001, with chest and abdominal pain. Tests revealed she had inflammation of the pancreas, which may have been caused by gallstones discovered during a post mortem.

Staff at the hospital reported that Mrs Chesworth's condition deteriorated overnight and she was moved to the intensive therapy unit where she was given morphine through an electronic infusion pump.

It was during a CT scan on Mrs Chesworth's abdominal area that Staff Nurse Jennifer Dry noticed the morphine line was running low and changed it over, the inquest heard.

Ms Dry said: "She was in quite a lot of discomfort for a lot of the morning. She was also quite frightened of the procedure.

"I changed over the morphine tube. I pressed the button thinking it was set to the original morphine level of 5mls per hour. When the scan was concluded she was being responsive to voice and pain.

"Then I noticed the morphine syringe almost empty and raised the alarm. …

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