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Medical Negligence - Treatment

Gentamicin Poisoning Leads to Deafness

After being treated with Gentamicin, Barry has become completely deaf. The hospital should not have given him this medication as it is known to have dangerous side-effects, particularly in those with impaired renal function.

Barry had long suffered with poor health. He had a heart condition, a pace-maker, cataracts in both eyes, kidney and thyroid problems and diabetes. Because of these various complaints, he developed a badly swollen and ulcerated right foot.

When Barry was admitted to hospital for treatment to the foot, in addition to his usual medication, he was placed on an antibiotic drug. He was given no explanation as to what this was or whether it might have any side effects.

After a couple of days, Barry began to notice that he could not hear properly. Within a matter of days his hearing deteriorated until he was completely deaf. He told the doctor but was reassured that it would return.

However, Barry's hearing did not improve. He was in hospital for a total of five weeks, and for nearly all of this time he was deaf. He was very frightened and upset, saying he felt locked in another world.

Since leaving hospital Barry has had hearing aids fitted, but sadly these have not helped whatsoever. He was, and still is, completely deaf. He has also lost his balance function and is now completely reliant upon his wife.

In the months following his discharge from hospital, Barry attended various specialists about his hearing. Only then was told he told that the hospital had actually caused his deafness by administering an antibiotic called Gentamicin.

Gentamicin is known to have dangerous side-effects, so it is only given where there is no alternative. In Barry's case, there were plenty of other options available, so there is no good reason why he should have been administered with Gentamicin.

Furthermore, Gentamicin should not be given to those with impaired kidney function, as Barry had as it is known to cause damage to the inner ear.

If Gentamicin is required and is not contra-indicated, medical practitioners should carefully decide upon a safe dosage by considering a patient's weight and age. Regular blood tests should also be taken to ensure a patient does not develop Gentamicin poisoning. The hospital failed to do either of these things.

After contacting us to discuss his case, we advised Barry and his wife that there had been a clear case of medical negligence. The hospital should not have given Barry Gentamicin in the first place due to his other health conditions.

As a result of these failings, Barry has completely lost his hearing, as irreversible loss of balance function and acute renal failure. We helped him pursue a medical negligence claim for the terrible physical and emotional trauma this has caused. Barry was awarded over £40,000 in compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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