El­derly pa­tient dies after be­ing given clean­ing fluid to drink

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Mar­tin Evans CRIME COR­RE­SPON­DENT

AN EL­DERLY pa­tient has died after hos­pi­tal staff mis­tak­enly gave her a glass of clean­ing fluid to drink be­liev­ing it was or­ange juice, it is al­leged.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent, which is thought to have been a tragic ac­ci­dent, at the Royal Sus­sex County Hos­pi­tal in Brighton.

The 85-year-old woman is un­der­stood to have been taken ill and died after drink­ing the or­ange coloured fluid, which had been de­canted into a wa­ter jug.

De­tec­tives in­ter­viewed staff, in­clud­ing nurses and clean­ers. The mat­ter is also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by of­fi­cials from the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC), the NHS watch­dog.

It is not yet known how the in­ci­dent hap­pened, but one the­ory is that toxic clean­ing fluid was poured into an opaque drink­ing jug and left on the pa­tient’s bed­side ta­ble by ac­ci­dent.

A pathol­o­gist has car­ried out a post­mortem ex­am­i­na­tion on the pen­sioner, but the re­sults, in­clud­ing tox­i­col­ogy tests, are not yet known.

Gary Palmer, GMB union re­gional or­gan­iser, said staff at the Brighton hos­pi­tal were un­der a great deal of pres­sure due to staffing lev­els.

He said: “What I un­der­stand is that clean­ing fluid was de­canted into a wa­ter jug, for what rea­son I don’t know. The jug was not clear and when the staff mem­ber looked in­side and saw or­ange liq­uid they thought it was or­ange juice. Ob­vi­ously the full facts will come out with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

He added: “We are of the view that this is not the in­di­vid­ual’s mis­take but rather a fail­ing of the trust; they are not giv­ing ad­e­quate train­ing to staff who are un­der a lot of pres­sure and are of­ten on dif­fer­ent wards to plug gaps.”

A Sus­sex Po­lice spokesman said: “The death has been re­ferred to the coro­ner and, at this stage, re­mains un­ex­plained.” Amanda Stan­ford, of the CQC, said: “Our thoughts are with the fam­ily and friends at this dis­tress­ing time.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.