Catherine Henry Lawyers’ health law team settled a claim with a hospital during mediation for a large sum on behalf of a client who experienced inappropriate treatment with Gentamicin.
What is Gentamicin?
Gentamicin is a powerful antibiotic for fighting infection that belongs to a class of drugs called aminoglycosides. Its devastating side effects are well known to medical professionals, which include being toxic to the ear and destructive to the kidneys. It is also well known that advanced age, dehydration, and renal impairment – all factors exhibited by our client – make the chances of adverse reaction more likely and the antibiotic unsuitable.
Our client should never have been given Gentamicin
Our 74 year-old client was admitted to a capital city hospital suffering tightness of the chest and shortness of breath. He had a detailed history of chronic renal impairment, clinical dehydration and reduced urine output.
He was treated for his dehydration and presumptively diagnosed with a urinary retract infection or possible sepsis (“urosepsis”). The treatment was a combination of Gentamicin, Metronidazole, and Ceftriaxone.
Over the next four days in hospital our client’s condition improved. The hospital continued to administer Gentamicin. He was to have been assessed on the third day but no staff from the hospital’s urology department reviewed him. He was discharged and told to continue taking oral antibiotics.
Gordon experienced symptoms of vertigo and loss of balance shortly after leaving hospital. Six weeks later he was examined by a neurologist who said his symptoms included vestibular toxicity resulting from excessive administration of Gentamicin.
Our client encountered memory and hearing loss, dizziness and vertigo. He relies on a walking frame and, on occasion, a wheelchair. His various ailments have caused the onset of depression and anxiety. He is frightened to go out on his own and particularly won’t cross a road. He is not able to go out at night as darkness causes him to want to fall over and he needs to be held up at all times. He has lost the enjoyment and independence of his former life.
Our case for compensation
We successfully argued that the hospital breached its duty of care by failing to consider the contraindicators that rendered Gentamicin inappropriate.
Our client, nor his partner, were given any information about Gentamicin before its administration in the Intensive Care Unit.
Despite his infection not being confirmed, and his set of circumstances which should have rendered the drug inappropriate, our client was treated with Gentamicin, even when there was no clinical indication to do so.
The drug was administered intravenously for preventative purposes to fight against possible infection. Urologists justify as a good defence for fighting infection but our client was not reviewed by anyone from the hospital’s urology department.
Staff should have used readily available alternatives to Gentamicin. Under standing order, TCHM09-007, staff are to administer Gentamicin subject a precaution. The precaution includes if the patient was elderly, had poor renal function or was suffering dehydration. Our 74 year old client had those conditions.
The doses of Gentamicin were excessive in the circumstances and have directly impaired our client’s quality of life.
Let us fight for you or your loved one
If you or a loved one have experienced the negative impacts of Gentamicin or poor medical treatment at the hands of a medical practitioner, please get in touch with one of our caring, expert, health lawyers about the options available to you.
Taking legal action can also help change health care practices and hold health care professionals to account so other people do not to have experience what you went through.