Clinical Negligence

Overdose of adrenaline causing a peri-arrest

This clinical negligence case arose from the administration of an overdose of adrenaline. Consequently, the claimant suffered a peri-arrest.

The claimant had a medical history of adverse reactions to various medications.

In November 2019, the claimant attended her GP with a suspected urinary tract infection. She was prescribed antibiotics. Within 90 minutes of taking the first tablet, the claimant’s hands began to swell. She telephoned her GP, and she was advised to re-attend.

The reaction worsened, and by the time she arrived at the GP practice, her lips were swelling, she felt itchy all over her body and her face was red. She felt wheezy.

A nurse at the GP surgery called an ambulance, and she was to be transferred to the local hospital.

While in the ambulance, a paramedic gave the claimant a shot of adrenaline via injection. A cannula was inserted and steroids were administered.

On arrival to A&E, the claimant’s face and hands continued to swell. Whilst in the reception area, she started to feel unwell and her hands felt stiff. She felt itchy and the rash had not subsided. Consequently, the paramedic gave the claimant another adrenalin shot. This time, it was administered through the cannula.

This caused the claimant’s heart to race and she became temporarily incontinent. The claimant was given medication to combat the adrenaline overdose.

The claimant was admitted for monitoring, and subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).

The claimant wrote a letter of complaint, and in the response it was acknowledged that the guidelines were not consulted before the second dose of adrenaline was administered. The error was acknowledged.

We were contacted by the claimant to investigate a clinical negligence claim. Medical records were requested, and a witness statement obtained from the claimant.

In light of the response to the claimant’s complaint, it was considered that the defendant would admit that they had breached their duty of care. Expert evidence was therefore not obtained from a paramedic. But an A&E expert was instructed to report on causation, and the likely course of events but for the overdose. In light of the claimant’s diagnosis of PTSD, a consultant psychiatrist was also instructed to prepare a report.

A letter of notification was drafted and sent to the defendant.

The defendant responded to the letter of notification, admitting liability. An offer was made to settle the claim.

Quantum investigations were finalised and thereafter, settlement negotiations commenced. A financial settlement was agreed.

Christina Mallery-Nelson specialises in claims relating to incorrectly prescribed or administered medication. If you would like to ask Christina a question about a potential clinical negligence claim, or if you have a general query about any personal injury claim, contact Christina at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701183 in confidence. We offer no win no fee agreements on the vast majority of our clinical negligence and personal injury cases.

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