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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Gary Foster was about to get married but he has died in a government-funded medical trial after receiving seven overdoses of drugs.

Man dies in government cancer drug trial
Article in the Sunday Telegraph


"Gary Foster, 27, was repeatedly given twice the amount of chemotherapy drugs he should have been prescribed.

He was due to be married this month.

Reports have said his death was caused by an error in the setting up of the trial on the computer system at University College London Hospital (UCLH).

A second patient was affected by the same mistake, but survived.

When the MRC suspected patients had been given overdoses, instead of calling the hospital immediately it wrote a letter - which a nurse at UCLH failed to open until two days after Mr Foster had died."

"UCLH has been forced to suspend the trial, called TE23, which tests whether a combination of five drugs is better at treating testicular cancer than the standard treatment of three drugs.

It has, however, being continued at other UK hospitals.

Mr Foster, a graphic designer, had just been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

He was told he had a 60 per cent chance of survival."

"Mr Foster received the drugs during visits to UCLH between June and September 2007. On seven occasions, he received 30,000 units of bleomycin - of one of the five drugs - instead of 15,000.

A third patient died at a different hospital after receiving an overdose of the same drug due to an error by a nurse or doctor. However the Medical Research Council (MRC), the government body which ran the trial, said the drug was not the direct cause of his death.

An inquest heard Mr Foster began to show signs of deterioration after taking the drugs.

Eventually he developed a dry cough, a symptom of damage to his lungs that had been caused by the overdose of bleomycin. The lung damage was eventually fatal.

The inquest heard the cough should have been recognised by doctors and nurses as a warning sign. However, he was given a final dose."

Obviously there's a degree of medical negligence here that caused avoidable suffering and the sad death of Gary Foster. It was not just bad luck or mistakes. - But I'd be very surprised if any sanctions are taken against the negligent personnel responsible. - And therein lies the most common cause of medical negligence...

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