Drug used to 'quieten man down'

By honourableone · Mar 28, 2009 · ·
  1. honourableone
    An elderly hospital patient was given a sedative to "quieten him down", an inquest has heard. Brian Cunningham, 79, was admitted to Gosport War Memorial Hospital in 1998 with serious bed sores, jurors heard.
    He was given diamorphine when he became agitated on the first night and died five days later. The doses increased in that time, the inquest heard.
    Inquests are being held at Portsmouth Coroner's Court into the deaths of 10 hospital patients over 10 years ago.
    Mr Cunningham, who was also known as Arthur, was admitted on 21 September, 1998.

    View attachment 7926
    Brian Cunningham died while being treated at the hospital

    'No justification'
    Tom Leeper, a solicitor representing four of the families, told the inquest that on the first day of his admission he became agitated with nurses and started taking off the dressing to his wound.
    He was given a 10mg morphine tablet, which had little effect, and was later connected to a syringe driver and given 20mg of diamorphine - two to three times stronger than morphine.

    The next day Mr Cunningham's step-son, Charles Farthing, was told by nurses "that his father had been given something to quiet him down", Mr Leeper said.
    Diamorphine was then increased four-fold over the following days before he died, he added.
    Professor David Black, a independent specialist in elderly care, said the increases in the last two days of Mr Cunningham's life were "excessive".
    He told the inquest: "There is no justification given for these in the notes.
    "It is not clear if this was a medical or nursing decision."

    Professor Black said the diamorphine increases were "excessive"

    Mr Cunningham died on 26 September, 1998. The cause of death on his death certificate was pneumonia.
    Hampshire police carried out a series of investigations into the treatment of patients at the hospital in the late 1990s, but no prosecutions have been brought.
    The inquests, expected to last six weeks, are being held into the deaths of Arthur Cunningham, 79, Elsie Devine, 88, Sheila Gregory, 91, Ruby Lake, 84, Elsie Lavender, 83, Geoffrey Packman, 67, Leslie Pittock, 83, Helena Service, 99, Enid Spurgin, 92, and Robert Wilson, 75.

    By BBC News, 26th March 2009
    Original Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/7963538.stm

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  1. Felix Guattari
    Diamorphine for bedsores is what sounds excessive.
  2. davestate
    Severe bedsores are like massive, septic burns that have pressure on them all the time, extremely painful and unpleasant. I'd want all the painkillers they could hurl at me...
  3. yaba
    Swim works on a EMI (elderly mental infirm) unit. We don't drug people up but do medicate them, and yes severe bedsores ain't pretty... Usually a fentanil patch and or orah morph is prescript.

    But swim wants anything and everything in that situation ! Better to over medicate then leaving someone in pain, I think.
  4. bcubed
    I think what Felix Gutarri meant was heroin as a substitute for actual treatment of bedsores is excessive.

    Sounds like the facility made up their mind this guy was "too far gone," didn't really treat him medically in any way other than to keep him "op'd up" 'till he died.

    Also, the "pneumonia" cause of death is ominus, considering the respiratory-depressant qualities of opiates in general.
  5. Insomniacsdream
    Probably true, but thats a little different, oral morph is oral, fentanyl is subcutaneous and both are relatively safe from an overdose point of view(obviously not in its raw form but fentanyl in a patch is pretty safe). However a syringe driver of diamorphine(heroine) should not be perscribed unless completely nessisary, specially if the doseage is quadrupled in a week. Furthermore why they hell would you jump from a tiny dose of morphine taken orally to double the dose of morphine in diamorphine through a syringe.

    The article heavily implies dirty play at work, and at the moment there is an investigation into all 11 of the deaths going on, i have seen them talking about another one of the victims on the news and again they heavily implied that foul play was involved without actually saying it specifically, I am pretty sure someone was deliberatly killing patients.
  6. yaba
    Sorry I know what you mean wed don't use syringe drives, but private nursing homes do ! And it usually when someone isn't going to get better and will die soon, they will put him/her on a syringe drive and in the next few days the patient will die...

    And yes a syringe drive for bed sores.... Ridiculous ! And really not necessary ! Its that a lot of private nursing homes are under staffed and to keep someone quiet, the will do inappropriate things for the benefit of the staff and shamefully not for the patience.
  7. Routemaster Flash
    Gotta love the Beeb's drug reporting...a naive person reading that would probably not realise that 'diamorphine' has a more common name which begins with 'h' and ends with 'eroin'.

    Shocking story, though. :( And wasn't it H that Harold Shipman used to bump off all those old dears?

    Routemaster Flash added 2 Minutes and 59 Seconds later...

    Isn't the way to avoid bedsores just to make sure patients who can't move themselves are moved into a new position every few hours? Or do they still happen anyway?

    Guess you are ultimately right about over-medicating the very frail/terminally ill. I think it's shockingly inhumane that euthanasia is still illegal here.
  8. yaba
    It still hap-pends even rolling a patience over every two or something every four hours.

    Keep in mined that (old) people are more sensitive to bed sores true there medical conditions.

    And yes eithanasia would be a blessing for a lot of people 1
  9. Craving
    AW: Re: Drug used to 'quieten man down'

    I'm sharing your opinion! Unfortunatelly eithanasia is forbidden in Germany. But well, you can make a trip to Swiss (country next to the south part of Germany) where it's legal. And many german patients do that. That's why there's a new name for this "phenomenon": dying tourism or tourism of dying (don't know if it's the right translation; what is the correct form?)
  10. yaba
    Re: AW: Re: Drug used to 'quieten man down'

    Swim is Dutch and the Doctors are more lenient there either the official or the "non official" way when someone that sick tho Doctors will say to tho family: Its not getting any better what do you want me to do..? And most of the time the family will say if it can be done peacefully then let the persong go....
  11. Insomniacsdream
    Euthanasia can be a good thing but not when forced for bed sores like this.
  12. Craving
    AW: Re: AW: Re: Drug used to 'quieten man down'

    Yeah, the Netherlands are really more lenient and human in such things. I heard about that pretty often. I like your policy over there.
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