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Grandmother Died From Prescription Error

on Monday, 14 May 2012. Posted in Breaking News, Prescription Drugs

Prescription Error Death

When 75-year-old Catherine Rodger swallowed two painkillers before bedtime, it was part of her routine. According to, the lively and active grandmother of ten never allowed her aches and pains to stop her from helping her family care for the children.

But, thanks to her GP's negligence, those two painkillers she took that night, would be her death sentence. Catherine's daughter realized something was wrong the next morning, when she popped in to check on her mother on her way to work. She said, "I was panicked to see how terrible she looked. I could tell by her eyes there was something wrong. I wasn't used to seeing her so unwell. Mum was healthy, young for her age and still lived quite independently. She told me she'd been up all night and was still being sick." When Catherine's daughter looked at the medication her mother was taking, a label was covering the dose.

Catherine's daughter called her mother's GP. She said, "While I was explaining what was wrong, Mum's eyes just shut. I screamed at him to get someone over, hung up and called an ambulance, too." The paramedics tried to revive her, but it was too late. She died of a lethal dose of morphine.

Catherine had been prescribed pills ten times the correct strength. Instead of 10mg morphine tablets, Catherine's doctor had handwritten the prescription for 100mg tablets. British research found that as many as 20 of all prescriptions contained a mistake that ranged from minor to serious. Although Catherine died in 2005, it took the family four years to win justice.

Catherine's daughter discovered that 100mg morphine are generally only given to palliative care patients She said, "Apparently it should have killed her in two hours. It was amazing she survived until morning."

British research examined 6,000 prescriptions by GPs in 15 practices over a year. Four in ten of the over-75s who were taking medications had been given a prescription error. This is partly due to the fact that older people are often pn a number of drugs. The report estimated that one in every 550 prescriptions contain a mistake.

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