Man Given 100 Times The Correct Dose Of Insulin

Wrong Dose Claim


After being administered a drug overdose from a junior doctor at Belfast City Hospital, Walter Kenneth Johnston died at age 92.

Mr Johnston was injected with 100 times the correct dose of insulin and the wrong syringe was used in February 2005 with the doctor claiming that he believed one unit to be equivalent to one millilitre.

A letter read out at Belfast Coroner's Court claimed that the medic had not received any instruction on how to handle insulin and having been at the hospital only three weeks admitted that he was not yet familiar with the heart monitor machine.

Despite that the patient was recovering badly after undergoing surgery for a blood clot in his knee it is believed by the Deputy State Pathologist that he would not have died had he not received the overdose.

Richard Starkie, a Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in professional and clinical negligence within the medical field commented: "This tragic case highlights the vital importance of doctors recognising the limits of their own knowledge and appreciating when they need to ask for help from others.

It seems that this junior doctor realised that he didn't know how to use the drugs or equipment, but went ahead anyway, apparently without obtaining advice or assistance from others. This should not be allowed to happen under any circumstances.