Highlands & Islands

Margaret Forrest of Kingussie died after medication mistake

Margaret Forrest Image copyright Copyline
Image caption Margaret Forrest died after taking tablets intended for someone else

An 86-year-old woman died after taking medication intended for another patient with a similar name, a court has been told.

Margaret Forrest of Kingussie was mistakenly given tablets intended for a Florence Frost by a Boots pharmacy.

Mrs Forrest was found unconscious by her son Billy on 12 November 2013, in her flat above a family-run gift shop in the village.

She did not come round from a coma and died two days later.

A fatal accident inquiry heard Mrs Forrest was wrongly given a dispensing box intended for Mrs Frost which contained Gliclazide, a drug used to treat diabetics.

The inquiry was told it induced a hypo-glycaemic brain injury and other complications which caused Mrs Forrest's death.

Billy Forrest told the court that his mother kept "pretty good health and was still sharp".

He added: "She liked travelling and, despite her age, had been back-packing to the Afghanistan border and in Australia for three months a couple of years before she died.

"She was very independent and would go off on her own so I wouldn't see her every day."

Raigmore Hospital

Sheriff Margaret Neilson also heard that when Mrs Forrest was admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, medical staff thought she was Mrs Frost because paramedics had handed over the box of medication with Mrs Frost's name on it.

It was only when Billy Forrest's partner, mental health nurse Ellie who worked at the hospital, inquired about her, that her true identity was discovered.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The medication came from a Boots pharmacy

The court heard the Crown did not intend to prosecute either pharmacy manager Nicola Ferguson or her staff.

Mrs Forrest's son, Steven, who is representing the family, also gave the court assurances that the family would not privately prosecute either Miss Ferguson or staff members.

Miss Ferguson elected not to give evidence at the inquiry although her police statement was read out in court.

She told Det Sgt Alan Ross: "I was told that Mrs Frost's medication was in Mrs Forrest's possession at Raigmore Hospital. She would have had to collect it from the pharmacy. I have no knowledge how this happened.

"I can confirm that Mrs Forrest's medication was kept next to Mrs Frost's. We keep it on shelves in alphabetical order."

Police photographs produced at the inquiry showed that not all the medication on that particular shelf was in alphabetical order.

The inquiry continues.

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