Woman died after being treated against her family’s wishes

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a seriously-ill woman died when doctors gave her an anaesthetic overdose while performing a procedure which her family had asked them not to carry out.

Margaret Morley, 71, died at Dewsbury and District Hospital in November 2008 after being given too much of the local anaesthetic lidocaine while doctors performed a bronchoscopy, a technique to check the airways and lungs which she had undergone the previous day.

Doctors carried out the procedure to try to remove a blockage, although her family requested them not to because they were concerned about her frail state and wanted her to die with her family around her.

Yesterday an inquest jury in Bradford returned a verdict of accidental death to which neglect contributed. The jury said lidocaine toxicity had played a part in her death.

The court heard evidence that the level of lidocaine that Mrs Morley could tolerate had been miscalculated.

After the case the family’s lawyer, Ian Murray, of Irwin Mitchell, described this as a “simple error which could and should easily have been avoided”.

He said it was important for the hospital to get to the bottom of why the family’s wishes were ignored and why she was given a high level of local anaesthetic.

Jackie Hussain, Mrs Morley’s daughter, said: “Our whole family is devastated by the circumstances surrounding my mother’s death.

“As a Catholic it was extremely important for her to have the Last Rites and she wanted to die peacefully with all of the family around her, but because of the hospital’s decision to carry out the second bronchoscopy this opportunity was taken away from her.

“We all knew she was extremely ill and because of this we did not want her to have to go through the pain and stress of a second procedure.

“We are extremely disappointed that it was allowed to go ahead without our permission and are concerned and disappointed about the level of care she received throughout her time at the hospital, and while are pleased that the hospital is now carrying out an investigation we feel that the very least we deserve is an apology.”

Professor Tim Hendra, medical director at the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, said lessons had been learned following a full investigation.

He said procedures for administering lidocaine had been improved, including the introduction of a new guidance checklist for staff to ensure patients receive the correct dose.

Processes for obtaining consent had been strengthened since Mrs Morley’s death, he added.