Dad dies of infection after ‘devastating’ NHS gaffes

A DAD died of blood poisoning after doctors failed to diagnose an infection properly, an official report has revealed.

It slammed the “devastating impact” when NHS bosses fail to respond properly when things go wrong.

The man was sent home with antibiotics after complaining of a painful lump in his buttocks.

 He returned three weeks later with foot pain and doctors found the initial infection had spread. He died two days later.

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust claimed the two admissions were unrelated.

But the man’s daughter took the case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman service. It ruled that a “lack of appropriate treatment when he was first in hospital compromised his chances of survival”.

Doctor imageThe trust apologised and paid the daughter £2,000 in compensation. It was one of nearly 200 case summaries of the 1,075 investigations concluded by the PHSO in a report highlighting serious errors by NHS hospitals.

Another case saw a woman suffer “unrelenting face pain” for 15 years. She was refused a specialist MRI scan until 2012. It found the source and surgery cured the problem. She was awarded £750 from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor said: “Too many people aren’t getting answers to what went wrong”.

Carri-Ann Taylor 2015 The Sun 21st October 2015

“Simply not good enough and not improving”


Potential new treatment for depression

Utilising a pain relief drug and a drug used in addiction therapy, there’s a potential new treatment for depression

Scientists hope it will get through clinical trials and regulatory bodies quickly, as both drugs are already licensed for other conditions.

Scientists have created a potential new treatment for depression by combining a medication for pain relief with one for combating addiction.

Current antidepressants, called SSRIs, increase the level of serotonin in the brain although the exact mechanism by which they work is unclear. Between 30% and 50% of patients don’t respond to the treatment, which can take several weeks to work and cause significant side effects, researchers say.

Mental Health LogoA team at the University of Bath have combined buprenorphine, a painkiller used post-surgery, and naltrexone, a drug used for treating addiction.

Their combination, which targets a different pathway in the brain to SSRIs, produced antidepressant-like responses in mice.

Researchers believe the time it would take to perform clinical trials and gain regulatory approval for the treatment could be reduced as both drugs are already licensed for other conditions.

Dr Sarah Bailey, senior lecturer at the University of Bath’s Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, said: “Whilst SSRIs work for a lot of people, they can cause serious side effects and don’t work for everyone.

“No new drugs for depression have been developed for decades – they all work in a similar way – so there’s an urgent need to develop new treatments for this condition that affects around four million adults in the UK.”

Buprenorphine reduces the patient’s response to stress by blocking a receptor in the brain called the kappa opioid.

But it also stimulates a related receptor called the mu opioid, which could cause addictive effects if taken long term or used by depressed patients.

To counter this, the researchers used the anti-addiction drug naltrexone, which blocks the mu receptor. They found for the first time that in mice this combination gave an antidepressant effect.

Dr Bailey added: “Our study shows that using a combination of naltrexone and buprenorphine gives an antidepressant effect in mice, but without the problems of addiction that could be caused by using buprenorphine alone.

“Developing new drugs is a lengthy process, with lots of safety tests and trials to go through. These two drugs have already gone through that process individually, so we know they are safe. There still need to be further trials of the combination in humans, but the whole process of developing this as a new treatment would be greatly reduced.”

Co-author Professor Steve Husbands added: “It may be hard to deliver this combination in the clinic because of the properties of these drugs. We have also been working on changing the chemistry of buprenorphine so that it has the properties of this combination treatment in one molecule which should simplify drug delivery.”

The team has published their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.


“It’s interesting news and we can only hope it’s not another false dawn, as in the successful provision of many ‘still in the lab’ treatments “