Home U.K Mum accidentally overdosed on paracetamol by drinking too many Lemsips

Mum accidentally overdosed on paracetamol by drinking too many Lemsips

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Joan Ita Bergin, 58, had been suffering with a cough and bad chest for around a week in December of last year and had been drinking Lemsip sachets to manage the symptoms. When she started vomiting coffee-coloured bile, Mrs Bergin was rushed to hospital where tests revealed she had “significantly elevated” liver enzymes and low oxygen levels.

The mum deteriorated and died after being diagnosed with liver failure.

Preston Coroner’s Court heard yesterday how Mrs Bergin drank a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but also told doctors she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol at times.

Kate Bisset, assistant coroner in Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, recorded a conclusion of misadventure, which is when a death is caused by the unintentional consequences of an intended act.

She said: “Joan Ita Bergin died on January 7, 2022, at the Royal Preston Hospital of multiple organ failure caused by an unintentional paracetamol overdose.”

Pneumonia and acute liver failure were also causes of death, secondary to unintentional paracetamol overdose. Contributory factors were cited as alcohol-related liver disease and oesophageal ulceration, reports Lancs Live.

Doctors advised Mrs Bergin no further treatment options were available after she deteriorated.

Her liver was already susceptible, the inquest heard, because Mrs Bergin also had a background of excess alcohol.

The mum, from Lostock Hall, Lancashire, would drink three to four cans of cider each day before work and up to 10 cans at weekends, the coroner was told.

Ms Bisset continued: “He (Mrs Bergin’s son) says his mum was in good health normally but she rarely ate much, one full meal per week, and otherwise she would snack on things such as marmalade on toast. She drank plenty of water but had on occasions fainted due to lack of food.”

In hospital in January, Mrs Bergin was given Parvolex, an antidote to paracetamol overdose, but she continued to have episodes of vomiting blood.

Lemsip contains decongestant and paracetamol, with the latter relieving pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins in the brain and spinal cord.

But too much paracetamol is dangerous as it can quickly damage the liver.



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