Medicine mix up may have led to pensioner’s death

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

Medical professionals at Wigan Infirmary have come under scrutiny following claims that a pensioner died after a “massive overdose” of the wrong drug.

An inquest into the death of Joseph John King, 68, from Ashton, was reopened yesterday at Bolton Coroner’s Court more than a year after his death in January 2016.

The court heard evidence from his wife, Margaret King, who said that her husband had been given the wrong medication in the four days leading up to his death.

Mr King had battled a brain tumour and a number of other serious health problems for years prior to his death, which led him to Wigan Infirmary where he was treated for 10 days before he died.

Mr Walsh, reading Mrs King’s evidence said: “On January 20 you were contacted by the hospital to say he (Mr King) had had an overdose and it should not have been prescribed.”

The court heard how Mr King was given Clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, instead of his Clobezan prescription to treat epilepsy. A swathe of witnesses from Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust attended the hearing to give medical evidence. Dr Ian O’ Connell, a Consultant Physician working on the Lowton Ward, was criticised by coroner Mr Walsh for not providing enough information about Mr King’s care which led to a missing witness at the first day of the inquest. During his evidence, Dr O’Connell revealed that on January 15 last year, the week before Mr King died, he handed care over to a senior registrar while he went for an operation. The court was adjourned in an attempt to contact the doctor.