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Gentamicin Toxicity Case against London Hospital Trusts

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A patient who was left with debilitating symptoms after she was given high doses of the antibiotic Gentamicin has been awarded £250,000 in compensation.  The Medical Negligence team at Pearson Solicitors secured an out of Court settlement for her against two hospital trusts.

Mrs Ann Goudarznia, from London, now lives with long-lasting disabilities but says the compensation award secured by the Pearson Solicitors Medical Negligence team has helped her rebuild her life to some extent.

Gentamicin Toxicity case against Barnet Hospital

Her case started with heart surgery by way of aortic and mitral valve replacement, but ten days later she developed an infection in the wound area.  This was treated with antibiotics and although her condition did improve the infections persisted.  Six months later she was again seriously ill with fluid retention in her foot and groin and suspected infection in the heart valves.  After two weeks of pain she was admitted to Barnet Hospital and started on a once daily 500mg dose of the antibiotic Gentamicin.

When administered correctly Gentamicin should be given under strict dosage levels and be calculated on the patient's correct body weight.  In this case there was nothing in the clinical records to indicate that gentamicin dose calculations had been determined by the body weight and effectively she was given too much, for too long.  Neither was our client given any advice on the side effects of gentamicin and the potential risk of vestibular damage or indeed asked if she had any hearing loss or ear problems.

Gentamicin Toxicity case against St Barts Hospital London

Mrs Gourdarznia was transferred to Barts Hospital for removal of a pacing wire, these are left behind routinely and were part of her initial heart operation, but again no consideration was given to her worsening hearing and balance and the risks associated with Gentamicin were not explained to her and the administration of Gentamicin continued.

Her dizziness worsened, she had difficulty walking, lost her balance and suffered from oscillopsia, a sensation that the surrounding environment is constantly in motion.  When she later reported her symptoms to her GP after four days of continual dizziness and room spinning sensations, she was told she may have a virus that would resolve itself.

Gentamicin Side Effects

Gentamicin Toxicity is known to cause any of the following:

  • Kidney damage and renal failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Ototoxicity (damage to the ear, such as hearing loss, vertigo or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Balance problems
  • Problems with memory, concentration and fatigue
  • Oscillopsia (bouncing vision)

Later that year Mrs Gourdarznia was seen by a specialist ENT surgeon who diagnosed vestibular impairment due to Gentamicin toxicity.

It was found that her Gentamicin ototoxicity and vestibular damage was attributable to the negligent mismanagement of her antibiotic therapy at Barnet Hospital on two occasions and Bart’s Hospital on one occasion. The case against the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Bart’s Health NHS Trust was settled.

“We have acted in many Gentamicin cases and had successful results for our clients.  We find that most clients want answers, they want to know what went wrong in their case and for the hospital to be accountable for their actions,” said Head of Medical Negligence at Pearson Solicitors, Jacqueline White.

“Transparency and accountability are the keys to improving patient safety moving forward and in most cases our clients are hoping to make sure the same does not happen to other patients. Gentamicin is a toxic drug and the standard practice is to have a policy in place to make sure it is administered and monitored appropriately.  In this case the care given to our client was negligent, the dosage, the timing of her doses and the accumulation to unsafe levels all led to a breach of the Trusts’ duty of the care,” added Jacqueline White.

In this case a settlement of £250,000 compensation was paid, but our client has been left with disabling unsteadiness, is unable to walk unaided, needs help with all her domestic chores, can no longer drive and relies heavily on her family for assistance.  It is expected that she will need continued therapy, domestic assistance and adapted single storey accommodation.

Mrs Gourdarznia is however glad she instructed specialist Medical Negligence solicitors to take her case forward and get her the compensation needed to support her life that little bit easier going forward.

Contact our Medical Negligence Solicitors

Every case is different and we act for clients in a wide variety of medical negligence cases. For help and advice on how we can assist your medical negligence claim call 0161 785 3500 or email enquiries@pearsonlegal.co.uk

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.

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