Birmingham & Black Country

Doctor death at Royal Orthopaedic Hospital sparks drug review

Dr Leonardus Vries
Image caption Dr Leonardus Vries worked at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham

Four hospital workers have been suspended and a fifth has resigned after a senior anaesthetist accidentally killed himself.

Dr Leonardus Vries, who worked at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, is believed to have been self medicating for a back pain.

An inquest heard he died at his home in Wychbold after injecting himself with a toxic cocktail of painkillers.

The hospital said its drug control procedures had since been tightened.

The BBC understands the member of staff who has resigned was the head of nursing.

'Accidental death'

"Following Dr Vries's death, a thorough external review of our drug regulation systems revealed concerns with the documentation process for the use and disposal of our controlled drugs within operating theatres," said chief executive Jo Chambers.

"This is something we take extremely seriously and, as a result, a further four members of staff have been suspended pending inquiries and another no longer works in the trust."

The inquest at Worcestershire Coroner's Court heard 49-year-old Dr Vries died in October last year after injecting himself with bupivacaine, morphine and diamorphine. Coroner Geraint Williams recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Ms Chambers said Dr Vries was a popular and well respected senior anaesthetist.

"I would like to assure our patients and their families that, as a result of the review, we are confident there is no evidence of any harm to patients or risk to patient safety," she added.

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