Call for inquiry into 81-year-old’s death

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 December 2010




A WOMAN from Weston died after being given a double dose of her prescription drug from a town chemist, her family is claiming.


Ellen Newman, aged 81, was allegedly sent and told to take a tablet containing twice her normal dose from Boots Chemist in Weston High Street - but became ill and died five weeks later.

The Earlfield Lodge residential home resident had been prescribed with Primidone to control her tremors.

Her family is now calling for an urgent investigation into what happened, although a formal complaint has not yet been lodged.

The relatives said they ‘cannot rest’ until they find out the circumstances that led to her death.

In response, Boots has sent its condolences to the family in a statement and said it is co-operating fully with the coroner’s enquiries.

Mrs Newman’s daughter, Vanessa Newman, said: “The family is understandably devastated by the loss of our mother.

“Although she was being looked after in a retirement home because she had difficulty walking unaided, she had a good quality of life and none of the conditions she was suffering from were considered ‘life threatening’.

“We feel we cannot rest until we get answers into the circumstances that led to her death.”

Mrs Newman was a resident at Earlfield Lodge residential home in Trewartha Park when she was prescribed with the Primidone medication.

It is alleged that in May she was sent double the prescribed dose by Boots and, despite concern raised by the care home, was told to take the whole tablet.

After taking it she suffered a loss of feeling and speech impairment within an hour, and was transferred to Weston General Hospital.

She died almost two months later, on June 23.

Lawyer Gillian Tayler, who is representing the Newman family, said: “The family are understandably concerned and wish to find out whether the apparent over-medication was in any way responsible for Mrs Newman’s death.”

Ms Tayler claimed following an internal investigation by Boots a number of staff changes had been made.

But the company would not comment on this, or the incident, as a date for an inquest into Mrs Newman’s death had not been fixed.

In a statement, it said: “We would like to take this opportunity to extend our condolences to Mrs Newman’s family.

“Boots takes patient safety very seriously and we are co-operating fully with the coroner’s enquiries.”

An inquest to determine the cause of Mrs Newman’s death is likely to be held in the New Year.

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