A verdict of anaphylactic shock due to an allergy to penicillin, which had been prescribed, has been returned into the death of a Tarbert woman.
73-year-old Patricia Bewick of Shannon Breeze, Kilcolgan, Tarbert, died at University Hospital Kerry on July 17th 2019, after being brought there by ambulance, having gone into cardiac arrest at home.
The inquest into her death was held at Tralee Circuit Court today, presided over by Coroner Helen Lucey.
Anne White gave evidence of returning home to her mother, who told her she had taken a tablet earlier but immediately felt sick.
Anne called an ambulance as her mother was finding it hard to breathe, and subsequently had a fit.
She says she informed paramedics of her mother’s penicillin allergy; Patricia Bewick was taken to University Hospital Kerry, where she later died.
73-year-old Mrs Bewick had COPD, a chronic inflammatory lung disease.
Pathologist Nollaig Parfrey, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at University College Cork, gave evidence of allergic reaction due to allergy to penicillin, with emphysema, due to smoking being a contributing factor.
Dr Rosalie Ashley, who worked part-time at the Tarbert Medical Centre, where Patricia Bewick was a patient, said she saw Mrs Bewick a number of times, but never had the penicillin allergy been mentioned, and she routinely asked patients about allergies.
She said it also wasn’t flagged in an allergies section of the computerised file system.
Dr Dominic Lehane runs the Tarbert Medical Centre and also treated Mrs Bewick, he said he too wasn’t aware of her penicillin allergy.
On cross examination by Alistair Rutherdale, BL, acting on behalf of Mrs Bewick’s family, Dr Lehane accepted Mr Rutherdale’s charge that there had been about five letters to the medical practice from hospitals that clearly stated Mrs Bewick had a penicillin allergy.
He said the practice has since made changes to how it deals with such letters.
The family had sought a verdict of medical misadventure, but the Coroner Helen Lucey returned a verdict of death due to anaphylactic shock due to an allergy to penicillin, following ingestion of penicillin, which had been prescribed.