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Family Compensated After Pensioner's Hospital Death

Hand sanitiser is widely used in hospitals to try to combat the spread of infection, but its use is not without risk, as a recent case involving a vulnerable patient shows.

If consumed, alcohol-based sanitisers can cause alcohol poisoning that in severe cases can result in respiratory arrest and death. After the elderly man died as a result of drinking an entire bottle of hand gel, his family secured a five-figure compensation settlement.

John Haughey, 76, was being treated for a chest infection. He had been confused and forgetful before his admission to hospital. Whilst undergoing treatment, he drank 500ml of the alcohol-based liquid, which was the equivalent of a litre of gin, and developed bronchopneumonia. He died a few days later.

An investigation into his death found that hospital staff had failed to take appropriate action following the incident.

Mr Haughey's family brought a personal injury claim against the NHS trust responsible for the hospital, which admitted that there had been a breach of the duty of care owed to him and agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in compensation.

Since Mr Haughey’s death, the NHS trust has introduced lockable, wall-mounted dispensers and issued staff with mini bottles of hand wash. It is confident that its actions will prevent any similar incidents in future.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.