‘Lessons Must Be Learned’ From Defective Insulin Syringe Case

Calea UK And Wholesaler Prosecuted After Failings Led To Death Of Patient


Specialist product liability lawyers have stated that safety lessons must be learned after two companies were prosecuted for supplying hospitals with defective syringes which were linked to the death of a diabetic patient.
Barnsley man Neil Judge died in November 2010 at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, after he was treated with an intravenous insulin syringe that contained no insulin.
The syringe was part of a faulty batch manufactured by Calea UK which was supplied to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by Fresenius Kabi.
Following the prosecution by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Fresenius Kabi was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Medicines Act 1968. Calea UK was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to similar breaches.
Sheffield Crown Court also heard that supplying faulty syringes was not an isolated incident and that Calea also manufactured a batch of pre-prepared Tobramycin syringes administered to a patient at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in August 2011. On that occasion, the syringes contained three times the prescribed daily dose.
Experts in Irwin Mitchell’s Product Liability team specialise in providing advice and support to patients who have been injured or suffered complications as a result of faulty medical devices, including hundreds of people affected by problems with hip replacement products.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a defective medical device or medicine, our medical negligence solicitors could help you claim compensation. View our Defective Medical Products Drugs Or Medicines Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
“This case is a shocking example of the impact basic human error can have on patients.

“Patient safety should always be the paramount concern for healthcare providers and those who develop and manufacture products to support treatment and care. However, we have seen numerous cases when companies behind devices have failed in their duty to take appropriate steps to ensure that they are safe to use.

“While nothing can change the tragic consequences in this case, the level of fines handed down highlight just how seriously the issue of product safety is treated. It is an important reminder to companies that they must have robust processes in place to ensure devices are always manufactured to the highest possible safety standards.”
Sallie Booth, Partner

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