Friday, June 3, 2011

Suzanne Ballantyne a Mother-of-two dies after doctors give her 16 times correct dose of labour-inducing drug - 3rd June 2011

A lawyer died after she was given a dose of a labour inducing drug 16 times the level stated in national guidelines, an inquest heard.

Suzanne Ballantyne, 47, a partner at Capsticks Solicitors, was being treated at St George's Hospital in London, after her unborn child died in the womb 39 weeks into her pregnancy.

Doctors gave her an 800-microgramme dose of misoprostol, as recommended by the Trust's in-house protocol, in an attempt to induce labour and retrieve the foetus.

However, the drug is known to put patients at increased risk of tears to the uterus.

Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - published just four days before Mrs Ballantyne's death last November - recommend doses of no higher than 50mcg.

Deputy Westminster Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said she had 'grave concerns' about St George's Healthcare Trust's procedures in relation to misoprostol.

She said the 800mcg figure did not appear to be backed up by research from outside bodies.

An internal investigation at the Trust apparently found the high dosage was recommended in a report by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, but bosses were unable to produce documents from the regulator referring to the figure at the inquest.

The Trust has since published a new protocol based on the Royal College guidelines.

Mrs Ballantyne lived with her landscape gardener husband Stephen and their two sons in Wimbledon, London.

The inquest heard she suffered multiple ruptures to her uterus, with amniotic fluid from her womb leaking into her heart and lungs and causing her vital organs to fail.

She was pronounced dead early on November 14, having collapsed shortly after the deceased child was born. Read More