Bishop Auckland taxi driver given antibiotic he was allergic to shortly before he died in Darlington Memorial Hospital, inquest told

Jan Walach

Janet Walach

First published in News
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A WIDOW has accused a hospital of a "catalogue of errors" after her seriously ill husband was given an antibiotic he was allergic to shortly before his death.

Janet Walach claimed the treatment husband Jan received at Darlington Memorial Hospital in 2012 was dismal.

Speaking after his inquest, she alleged that the hospital failed to call in time for the family to say goodbye to Jan and that after his death, his belongings disappeared.

Last night a spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS trust said they noted the inquest's outcome and offered their condolences to Mr Walach's family.

He said: "Trust managers have met with the family to discuss the issues they have raised."

Mr Walach, a taxi driver from Bishop Auckland, was diagnosed with leukaemia in April 2012 and successfully completed chemotherapy when, in November, he suffered neutropenic sepsis, a drop in white blood cells caused by the cancer treatment.

At 10.15pm on November 3, 2012, he was rushed to the emergency department at Darlington Memorial Hospital and given a mix of antibiotics including teicoplanin. At 11.15pm the 53-year-old suffered a fatal heart attack.

Deputy coroner Crispin Oliver heard Mr Walach was diagnosed with an allergy to teicoplanin during previous hospital treatment in April.

But staff did not have his medical notes on November 3 and were unaware of his allergy.

Mrs Walach told the Crook inquest that a hospital doctor told her he had been wrongfully given teicoplanin which may have contributed towards his death.

However, Mr Oliver heard hospital staff saw no evidence of an allergic reaction while pathologist Stephen Beck said death was due to neutropenic sepsis.

Professor Jerry Murphy, a consultant who reviewed the case for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said Mr Walach was "desperately ill" and signs of an allergic reaction would have been identical to the neutropenic sepsis symptoms.

Mr Walach's family said he was admitted to hospital in September 2012 suffering neutropenic sepsis, but was treated with a different antibiotic and recovered enough to return home after 10 days.

Professor Murphy said Mr Wallach's health was so poor in November he would have been "surprised" had he survived, regardless of any allergic reaction.

Mr Oliver recorded a verdict of natural death.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Walach said: "There was a catalogue of errors. It simply should not have happened, regardless of whether he had an allergic reaction or not they should never have given it to him."

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