Leeds & West Yorkshire

GP failure contributed to Guiseley woman's vitamin D death

Claire Wiles Image copyright SWNS
Image caption A coroner said GP Claire Wills failed to carry out basic checks of Miss Cowles' prescription

Neglect by a GP contributed to the death of a woman who was wrongly prescribed too much vitamin D, a coroner has ruled.

Eileen Cowles, 86, who died in 2015, was taking her monthly dose of vitamin D tablet, colicalciferol, every day.

Wakefield area coroner Jonathan Leach said GP Claire Wiles had failed to carry out basic checks relating to Miss Cowles' prescription.

He said the failure "constituted neglect" on the part of Dr Wiles.

The inquest heard Miss Cowles started taking a low dosage of colicalciferol twice a month to help boost her bone strength after she fractured her hip in September 2014.

But when she was moved to Primrose Court care home in Guiseley the following month, staff were supposedly instructed by Dr Wiles, of Park Row Medical Centre, that Miss Cowles needed to "take two" of the tablets, without an indication of how frequently.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Eileen Cowles died in April 2015

Dr Wiles, who had only been a GP for a year at the time, also told the care home and the pharmacy dealing with the order that the repeat prescription was correct.

As a result of the error Miss Cowles was left with hypercalcemia, a condition caused by the presence of too much calcium in the blood and died in hospital.

Recording a narrative conclusion, Mr Leach said: "These failures collectively amounted to a gross failure which caused the deceased's death."

Outside Wakefield Coroners' Court, Miss Cowles' daughter, Christine Bull, 68, said she was relieved that those who looked after her mother "have had to explain themselves".

"Our mum died because five repeated prescriptions were wrong," she said.

"We hope that people will take note of this, especially because she died of a vitamin D overdose - please always check yours and your family's prescriptions."

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