Highlands & Islands

'Human error' caused wrong tablets death in Kingussie

Margaret Forrest Image copyright Copyline
Image caption Margaret Forrest died after taking tablets intended for someone else

An 86-year-old woman's death could have been avoided if an employee at a chemists had followed standard procedures, a sheriff has said.

Margaret Forrest, from Kingussie, was mistakenly given tablets intended for another woman at the town's Boots pharmacy.

She was found unconscious by her son Billy Forrest on 12 November 2013 and died two days later.

A sheriff has determined that human error had caused the mistake.

It follows a fatal accident inquiry at Inverness Sheriff Court, which heard Mrs Forrest was wrongly given a dispensing box intended for a woman named Florence Frost.

The box contained Gliclazide, a drug used to treat diabetics.

The inquiry was told it induced a hypo-glycaemic brain injury and other complications which caused Mrs Forrest's death.

'Catastrophic consequences'

In her determination, Sheriff Margaret Neilson said that if processes in Boots' standard operating procedures had been correctly followed, then "this would not have happened and the accident and consequent death would not have taken place".

She added: "It seems that the accident was as a result of human error, an error which has had tragic and catastrophic consequences."

The sheriff noted in her determination that Boots had admitted "being vicariously liable" for the negligence of one of its members of staff in handing over the wrong medication in a personal injury action raised in the Court of Session by members of Mrs Forrest's family.

The company had also made a public apology, she said.

Sheriff Neilson extended the court's condolences to Mrs Forrest's family.

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