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Patient dies after nurse’s blunder in Norfolk care home

06:30 19 February 2013

A Norfolk care home resident died after a nurse

A Norfolk care home resident died after a nurse's mistake.

Archant © 2006

A care home resident died after a nurse gave her a cocktail of drugs meant for another patient, a hearing was told.

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Valerie Utting had got the medication ready to give to the patient at the Dussindale Park Care Home when an alarm sounded and she left the room.

When she returned, she accidentally administered Doxasozin, a drug used to lower blood pressure, as well as heart tablets, pain killers and iron supplements meant for a different patient.

Police were called after the woman, referred to as patient A, died on July 5, 2010, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

During interview Ms Utting confessed what she had done, saying: “I didn’t check it again, I should have checked. I realised with horror what I’d done. I knew immediately. I knew straightaway I’d given the wrong one.”

She described it as “a genuine mistake for which I think I will suffer for years”.

A misconduct panel which investigated gave her a two-year caution order after hearing she did everything she could to correct the mistake.

She has since completed drugs training courses, and had worked as a nurse for 30 years without error before the incident.

The caution order means means Ms Utting is free to continue practising as a nurse, but employers will be able to see the order by accessing her records for the next two years.

A post-mortem examination indicated the cause of death was low blood pressure, combined with septicaemia from a urinary tract infection, diarrhoea and mixed drug interactions.

But a toxicology report read: “It is not possible to prove that doxazosin, or any other drug given on the morning of 5 July, was a causal factor in [Patient A]’s death either singly or in combination.”

Dussindale Park Care Home was owned by Southern Cross at the time. The healthcare company collapsed in 2011, with its homes sold to other operators. Dussindale Park Care Home is now owned by Countrywide Care Homes.

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