Family fights for justice after Runcorn GP admits serious errors led to patient's death

Runcorn and Widnes World: Castlefields Health Centre Castlefields Health Centre

A DISTRAUGHT daughter is fighting for justice after a Runcorn doctor admitted serious errors which led to her mum’s death.

Mum-of-two Carol Gibson, aged 65, of Palacefields, died after being prescribed a drug four times in four months, despite it being on her medical records that she should not be given it.

Her daughter, Helen Dundon, aged 45, of Grangemoor, said: “We still don’t understand how this could happen.

“We have not received any apology from the doctor or the health centre which raises questions about whether they are truly learning from this.

“It is quite clear from the inquest and the legal admission that very serious mistakes were made in my mother’s treatment but it would appear that no one is going to be held to account.

“It’s incredibly frustrating and doesn’t send out the message to other medical staff that they need to ensure alerts are properly acted upon.

“If no one is ultimately held to account for such serious errors then it makes us wonder about the desire to see real improvements in future.”

Mrs Gibson died at home on August 8, 2012 as a result of an adverse reaction to the drug nitrofurantoin which was prescribed to help ease symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

At her inquest, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg highlighted concerns into Mrs Gibson’s care provided by Dr Shish Otiv from Castlefields Health Centre.

These included that Dr Otiv ignored a warning alert in her medical records regarding the adverse reaction to nitrofurantion and prescribed it.

He raised concerns regarding the inputting of data from hospital letters regarding adverse reactions.

Mr Rheinberg also highlighted indications from Dr Otiv that the partners were experiencing a form of ‘alert fatigue’, saying that “most are trivial, spurious, irrelevant or just wrong”.

The coroner wrote a regulation 28 report to the health centre requesting clarification that robust systems were in place for posting alerts and that they correctly identified problems. He called for medical staff to be fully trained so they understood the alerts.

Castlefields Health Centre responded to the Coroner saying that they had taken significant steps to prevent further mistakes.

Ayse Ince, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Mrs Gibson’s family, said: “This is a truly tragic death which could have been prevented had Dr Otiv not ignored warnings on her records about the drugs she was prescribed.

“It is totally unacceptable.

“The family was distraught when they found out what happened and is determined to ensure there are improvements made to the systems so no-one else has to suffer as they have.”

A joint spokesperson for Castlefields Health Centre and Halton Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Dr Otiv has met with Mrs Gibson's family to express his regret at the events surrounding Mrs Gibson's death, and has provided an unreserved apology.

"The system of alerts relating to allergies and adverse reactions at Castlefields Health Centre has been reviewed and a number of improvements have been implemented, and they are now flagged up electronically.

"The authorities at NHS England have approved all the changes."

Dr Otiv has recently admitted liability for Mrs Gibson’s death via his legal representatives.

He currently has conditions on his GMC licence which involve letting the GMC know where he is working and that his work must be supervised by another GP.

 

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