Sheffield hospital’s drugs mix-up

Tim McDonald who was given someone elses medication in hospital follwing a bone marrow transplant
Tim McDonald who was given someone elses medication in hospital follwing a bone marrow transplant
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A bone marrow cancer patient has called on Sheffield hospitals to carry out closer checks when dispensing prescriptions - after he was handed doses of several medicines intended for someone else.

Tim McDonald, aged 55, from Sothall, has been fighting multiple myeloma for a year, and is now in remission.

Following a recent bout of treatment at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, staff handed Mr McDonald a bag of medications, which should have contained his usual anti-viral and anti-sickness drugs, to counteract the effects of his intense chemotherapy.

But instead, the bag was filled with eight medicines prescribed for another man, including antidepressants, painkillers, and drugs to stop facial drooping, none of which Mr McDonald required.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has apologised and said a new training plan has been put in place for staff.

Mr McDonald, who works as a sales manager, said he took the wrongly-prescribed tablets for three days last month, and only noticed the error when he started to feel sick.

“They were making me worried – usually I get better pretty quickly,” he said.

Mr McDonald returned to hospital after checking the labels on the boxes of drugs.

He said: “If people get the wrong tablets it could kill them or put them back to square one. The hospital staff were absolutely fantastic but the system is wrong. They should have two people double-checking the tablets.”

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We would like to offer our most sincere apologies to Mr McDonald.

“Unfortunately a checking mistake on his ward meant he was given drugs to take home that were prescribed for another patient.

“Patient safety is our number one priority which is why Mr McDonald was medically reviewed as soon as we were made aware of the situation. I can assure him we have carried out a full review of the incident to establish if lessons could be learned.

“We have implemented a training plan to refresh staff on the ward’s knowledge on the robust processes the trust has in place that allow us to dispense thousands of prescriptions every day without fault.”