Family’s anguish as mum dies two weeks after high paracetamol dose in hospital

The family of a woman who died two weeks after being given a high dose of paracetamol in hospital has said that they feel they are being “gaslighted”.

It comes after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled that no manslaughter charges should be brought against the hospital trust.

In April 2017, Laura Higginson was taken to hospital in Cheshire, and weighed just five-and-a-half stone, reports Yorkshire Live.

The 30-year-old was given a high dose of paracetamol.

Two weeks later Laura died from multiple organ failure, sepsis and Gitelman syndrome – which is a disorder of the kidneys.

Her husband Antony, 47, believed staff at the hospital should have been charged with manslaughter, for giving her the wrong dose of medicine.

But the CPS ruled that no charges should be brought.

Now, Antony said the family felt they were “gaslighted”, claiming he had not been aware that Laura was given the high dose of paracetamol until a post-mortem report was published, CheshireLive reports.

Five years after Laura’s death, Antony said he and the family felt as though they are stuck on a “merry-go-round of blame”.

He said: “We feel that we have been gaslighted. Justice is not fair, it’s unaffordable, unachievable, unaccountable.

“What we have is a merry-go-round of blame and in the middle is us, the bereaved. I’m missing my wife, Laura’s parents are missing their daughter, and my children are missing their mum all because these organisations are pointing the finger at each other.

“They rendered her life insignificant when she mattered the world to me, her mum and dad, and her children. We are broken, despairing – we are angry beyond compare.”

Laura tragically died in hospital on April 19, 2017 which was two weeks after being given a high dose of paracetamol.

The dose had been intended for a heavier person, as slight Laura – weighing only 36kg – should have been given a maximum dose of 500mg.

But Laura actually received a dose that was equivalent to 1g at a time, over a two-day period, according to official documents.

Antony claimed that Laura’s family were only made aware of the dosage after they received a copy of the post-mortem from her GP, months after her death.

He said: “The CPS not charging doesn’t surprise me – if they charged twelve people with manslaughter, no one would ever walk in a hospital again.”

A spokesperson for the CPS said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of Laura Higginson.

“Having carefully considered all the available evidence in the case, we concluded that no charges could be brought against the hospital trust. A further review by an independent lawyer, brought under the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme, has upheld this decision.

“We understand this is not the outcome the family were hoping for and have written to explain our decision in detail.”

Whiston Hospital said: “The Trust offers its sincere condolences to the family of the late Mrs Higginson. From the outset, the Trust cooperated fully with the investigation and subsequent review of the case.”