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Woman, 95, given 'wrong medication' before death

PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 March 2019

The Lodge care home in Copdock. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Lodge care home in Copdock. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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An inquest into the death of a woman who died at a Copdock care home hours after being given the wrong medication has concluded that she died of natural causes.

Margaret Hammond sadly died in her room at The Lodge care home in London Road on October 27, 2016, at the age of 95.

She was suffering from dementia and had been in the home for 10 years but was in reasonable health, an inquest heard this week.

Dr Dan Sharpstone, Assistant Coroner at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich, said that the day before her death, Mrs Hammond had been given medication that was meant for another resident by nurses.

Amongst the incorrect medication were two pills that are used to treat high blood pressure, Ramipril and Bisoprolol. These were highlighted as a risk for the health of Mrs Hammond.

The nurses immediately realised their mistake and assisted as Mrs Hammond vomited shortly after taking the pills, bringing up some of the medication.

She was then closely monitored throughout the night. Nurses described her as talkative, until she went to sleep at 3.30am.

She woke shortly after 7am feeling unwell and sadly died at 7.38am.

A post-mortem examination concluded that the cause of death was natural, from a lung infection, which was partially caused by dementia.

However, the secondary cause was given as the taking of incorrect medication.

A criminal inquiry was opened by Suffolk police, however, it was deemed that the error did not pass the threshold of criminal negligence.

An inquiry was also carried out by the NHS regulatory body, the Care and Quality Commission, which concluded that “the medication had a more than minimal contribution to Mrs Hammond’s death”. Following the investigation, the home changed the way it records medication, when it is stored and when it is administered to patients.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

The home’s most recent CQC inspection which took place in May 2018, concluded that it ‘requires improvement’.

The home has been contacted for comment.

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