Doctor’s medication prescription was a contributing factor to pensioner’s death

PATIENT Gladys Richards
PATIENT Gladys Richards
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MEDICATION given to a Lee-on-the-Solent patient at Gosport War Memorial Hospital contributed to her death, a coroner has ruled.

Gladys Richards had been a patient in the Daedalus ward of the hospital, and was under the care of Dr Jane Barton when she died in 1998.

Between 1996 and 1999, 12 patients died under the care of Dr Barton – including 91-year-old Mrs Richards.

This week an inquest into her death has been held at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Announcing a narrative verdict, David Horsley, the coroner for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire said: ‘Mrs Richard’s death was due to bronchopneumonia. Factors contributing more than significantly to her death due to bronchopneumonia were:

· Accidental falls which she sustained at Glen Heathers Nursing Home in Lee-on-the-Solent on the 29th July, 1998 and at Gosport War Memorial Hospital on August 13, 1998.

· Procedures undertaken at Haslar Hospital, Gosport to treat the injuries she suffered as a result of those falls.

· Her immobility subsequent to those procedures.

· Medication administered to her at Gosport War Memorial Hospital for the control of her pain and agitation

· Her old age, frailty and end-stage dementia.’

Mrs Richards’ daughter Gillian Mackenzie, 79, of Eastbourne, approached police with concerns over her mother’s care, which sparked an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary into the deaths.

Inquests of five other patients at the hospital took place in 2009, where a jury ruled drugs prescribed by Dr Barton contributed to the deaths.

A General Medical Council hearing took place in 2010, which found Dr Barton had prescribed ‘excessive’ drugs to elderly patients, but decided not to remove her from the register.

Mrs Richards’ inquest was not included with the other five.

Mrs Mackenzie has been campaigning for almost 15 years to have the inquest.