Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inexperience Can Be Deadly

From BBC news 30 July 2009

A fatal accident inquiry will be held into the death of a cancer patient who was given a massive overdose of radiation, BBC Scotland has learned. Lisa Norris was 16 when she died in 2006, months after staff at Glasgow's Beatson Oncology Centre miscalculated her treatment for a brain tumour.

A post-mortem examination found the brain tumour caused her death. But it is understood the Procurator Fiscal has agreed to hold an inquiry, which will look again at the case. Lisa was initially diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2005. Three months later she was given radiation treatment 58% higher than prescribed, which left her with burns on her head and neck.

'Critical error'
She died in October 2006 at her home in Girvan, Ayrshire. The teenager's parents, Keith and Liz Norris, have said NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde failed in their duty of care. A report commissioned by Scottish ministers identified a "critical error" in Lisa's treatment plan by inexperienced staff. It said the overdose happened after an under-qualified and under-trained member of staff entered a wrong number on a form. Another report, commissioned by the teenager's solicitor following a BBC Scotland investigation, suggested the chances of survival were in Lisa's favour until the mistake.