A MAN almost died after being given penicillin at Southend Hospital despite medics being warned he was allergic to the drug.
The 70-year-old from Blenheim Chase, Leigh, suffered an allergic reaction and spent four days in the hospital’s high dependency unit then 17 days on its heart ward after being injected with Co-amoxiclav, which contains penicillin.
The man had been rushed into hospital by ambulance after collapsing at home and was thought to have pneumonia.
The man and his wife, who have asked not to be named, claim a paramedic radioed through and told medics about the allergy.
However, the message was not passed on and neither a nurse nor registrar read medical notes, which would have prevented the incident.
The man’s wife said: “He was lucky he did not die. He was so near to it, but it has been life changing for his memory. He cannot remember things.
“They gave him oxygen and a paramedic radioed through to the hospital to explain he was allergic to penicillin. When we got there he was taken in to resuscitation and I was made to wait.”
She went to see him and said she saw him with a swollen neck and was turning mauve.
She added: “I said this doesn’t look right then I was asked to leave.”
The man was given an antidote before being moved to another ward.
His wife thought her husband had died because a nurse handed her his wedding ring as she waited outside the high dependency unit and “muttered something”
She added: “I didn’t know what she said and just assumed he must have died. I was in shock.”
Details have emerged in a complaint to the hospital by the couple after the man’s treatment between October 13 and November 1 last year.
According to the hospital, ambulance staff told the A&E nurse of the allergy as soon as the man arrived and she wrote it onto a handover sheet to the rescusitation department, but did not update them verbally. Staff in resuscitation did not read the paperwork before administering penicillin.
Jacqueline Totterdell, hospital chief executive, said: “We are sorry this patient has concern regarding his treatment. We have met with him and his family to enable us to fully investigate what happened.”
The hospital has reported the incident to NHS England and is being investigated.