Financial & Legal News

BBC Hospital Drama Highlights Danger of Gentamicin

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A recent episode of Holby City featured a grave digger who was the victim of Gentamicin, which can be a common source of toxicity and cause life changing problems for some clients coming to see us.

In this episode a grave digger actually fell into the grave as he experienced dizziness, one of the side effects of this powerful medication.  He was apparently prescribed the antibiotic for a kidney infection, a common reason and was unsteady on his feet.

Gentamicin is a widely used and powerful antibiotic, used to treat bacterial infections, however, it must be administered with caution and with respect to the patient’s height, weight, age and kidney function, as it can potentially cause problems when given inappropriately.

If Gentamicin is administered inappropriately it can lead to ‘Gentamicin toxicity’. Gentamicin poisoning can then result in kidney damage and renal failure, Ototoxicity (damage to the ear, such as hearing loss, vertigo or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)) and associated balance problems.  It can also lead to fatigue, problems concentration and vision issues.

Medical Negligence Solicitor, Jaqueline White said:  “It’s good to see prime time drama tackling a problem like this and helping to bring it to the attention of the general public and I welcome anything that makes patients more aware of antibiotic poisoning and the signs and symptoms. 

"Although this is an irreversible consequence of negligence there are many measures/treatment plans that can be put in place to make life easier for those affected.  The character in the show had no idea that he had sustained damage as a consequence of treatment with Gentamicin, he attributed his symptoms to age and the stress of a recent bereavement.   It was only when he suffered a fall and complained to Clinicians of feeling dizzy and unbalanced that a full review of his notes was undertaken and the condition was diagnosed.  But for the injury sustained in the fall it is likely that the condition would have gone undiagnosed for months, if not years. 

"Well done to the makers of the show for raising awareness of a problem that is unfortunately very common but, on the whole, generally unheard of”, she added.

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.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Jacqueline White


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