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Compensation for Gentamicin Treatment

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When a 60-year-old man was given too much of the antibiotic Gentamicin, resulting in severe side effects and medical complications, the medical negligence solicitors at Pearson secured a £76,444 settlement.

Vestibulotoxicity with Gentamicin

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, formerly the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, admitted a breach of duty of care in this case as other less toxic antibiotics could have been used.  In addition, it was alleged that he had received no warnings about the potential side effects of Gentamicin.

We acted in this case for the estate of the patient and the medical negligence team at Pearson were instructed in the case by the patient’s wife.  Sadly, her husband had a cardiac arrest and passed away just a couple of years after the incident.

“The effects of this very powerful antibiotic affected our client’s life in his last few years,” said Medical Negligence Solicitor Daniel Phelps.

“As a result of the negligence, this man experienced vestibulotoxicity, which caused severe symptoms of dizziness and imbalance, significantly decreasing his quality of life and his independence.  We were able to take instructions from his wife and the settlement made to his estate reflects the effects the Gentamicin poisoning had on his final years,” he added.

Gentamicin Dose

When used correctly and in appropriate doses, Gentamicin is in fact, an effective antibiotic and is used to treat serious bacterial infections. However, in this case, it was not properly monitored, and the side effects the patient clearly suffered were not picked up quickly enough.

Gentamicin belongs to the class of medicines known as aminoglycoside antibiotics; however, as we have seen in many cases. when mismanaged it can have severe side effects and result in a higher risk of ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity – affecting the inner ear and kidneys.

“The antibiotic should be prescribed with the utmost care taking into account factors such as the patient’s age, height, weight and kidney function.  As with all medical interventions, informed consent to treatment with Gentamicin should always be obtained. This should include advice on the risks and benefits of Gentamicin and also on the alternative treatments, which was clearly not the case with our client’s husband.” said Daniel Phelps

Side effects of Gentamicin

Symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, and sensation of roaring in the ears and also hearing loss, which, as with the other aminoglycosides, may be irreversible.  It can also affect the kidneys, causing problems such as painful or difficult urination, swelling in the feet or ankles, as well as tiredness and a feeling of shortness of breath.

Negligence in Gentamicin Case

In this case, the man in question was initially admitted to Fairfield Hospital with abdominal pain and a fever. When biliary sepsis was diagnosed, he was given Gentamicin, Amoxicillin and Metronidazole before being transferred to the North Manchester Hospital.  Here the patient was diagnosed with mitral valve endocarditis, a bacterial infection which inflames the lining of the heart valves and chambers.

When administered the antibiotic, our client’s husband experienced typical Gentamicin side effects almost immediately and continued to do so.  The family reported the effects, but no appropriate action was taken.  His symptoms continued for several weeks as an inpatient; his vision was blurred, and he had trouble walking.  After being discharged from hospital, several months later he was still experiencing problems, and his previously independent lifestyle was radically changed as he was not able to safely drive, was unfit for work and needed support from social services.

“We have handled many cases of Gentamicin toxicity, and lessons should be learned from every case when hospitals breach their duty of care.  All hospitals should have strict treatment protocols to follow, but mistakes can occur and patients have died or been left with life-changing injuries and that is when they need our help to get the care they need,” he added

How can we help?

Every case is different, and we have secured settlements for many Gentamicin patients, getting them compensation and an admittance of breach of duty of care from hospital trusts.

For legal advice on how we can assist with a medical negligence claim contact our team on 0161 785 3500 or email 

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Daniel Phelps


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