Widow of Colin Whalley describes pay out by St Helens Teaching Hospital NHS Trust as 'blood money'

St Helens Star: Norma Whalley is still trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband Norma Whalley is still trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband

A SETTLEMENT paid out by a hospital following a medication error that contributed to a patient’s death has been described as “blood money” by his widow.

Colin Whalley died at the age of 68 in Whiston Hospital in November 2011 after he was given a 24 hour dose of medication within a fraction of that time.

Two years later St Helens Teaching Hospital NHS Trust admitted their mistake and came to an out of court financial settlement with his wife, Norma, to whom he had been married for almost 50 years.

She plans on donating some of the money to charities.

“Colin would have been 71 this coming November,” said Norma, on Tuesday, the day when Coroner Christopher Sumner delivered a narrative verdict on Mr Whalley’s death at an inquest in St Helens Town Hall.

“I received a settlement from the Trust which is stuck in the bank. I don’t want it, it’s blood money. But some of the money will be donated to the several charities that Colin supported. The family can have the rest.”

Mrs Whalley, of Dentons Green, was not feeling well enough to attend, but later said: “He was the heart of our family, now that heart is broken. I feel there’s only half of me left.”

She shares her grief with daughter Jacqueline, sons Mark and Simon, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

The inquest heard a post mortem revealed a significant contributory factor was a high dose of theophylline.

He also had bronchopneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 90 per cent narrowing of the main arteries.

On November 17, 2011, the day after being admitted to Whiston Hospital, he was prescribed aminophylline which is converted into theophylline when it enters the body.

The loading dose of 400mg was to be given over a 20 minute period followed by a maintenance dose of 960mg over a 24 hour period.

Witnesses said the 24 hour dosage was infused into Mr Whalley over a period estimated at between 20 and 70 minutes.

When the mistake was noted Mr Whalley was given charcoal as a neutralising agent but he died on November 18, 2011.

A Trust statement said: “The Trust offers again sincere condolences to the family of the late Mr Colin Whalley, following his death in November 2011. Mr Whalley was extremely poorly when he was admitted to the hospital. The Trust has unreservedly apologised to Mr Whalley’s family for the error which meant that he received an infusion of medication over too short a period of time. The Trust quickly carried out a full investigation working openly with the Coroner. It was concluded that the staff involved had failed to follow the appropriate guidance.”

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