UK police have launched an investigation after a woman died in hospital shortly after staff overdosed her with paracetamol.

Mother-of two Laura Higginson, who had a rare genetic condition called Gitelman syndrome, died at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside in April 2017 at the age of 30.

Her husband Antony told the Times he only learned his wife had been given an overdose months after her death when his GP sent him a copy of the post-mortem report.

According to the Guardian, when medics realised their mistake after giving her a very high dose of paracetamol for two days, they administered an antidote.

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But they allegedly failed to tell her husband and only revealed that she died from sepsis and organ failure.

Higginson said he was "apoplectic" that no one had previously mentioned it.

A spokeswoman for St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it accepted Higginson had been given a paracetamol overdose, but "expressly denied" it had caused or contributed to her death.

A coroner initially decided not to open an inquest into her death, prompting Higginson to campaign against that decision.

He said he hired lawyers at "enormous emotional and financial costs to the family" to find out the truth.

Laura's husband Antony only found out months after her death that she had been given an overdose.
Laura's husband Antony only found out months after her death that she had been given an overdose.

Last week, Julie Goulding, the new senior coroner for Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens, decided she did have a duty to investigate the death of Laura Higginson, after receiving "fresh medical evidence".

Slater and Gordon, solicitors representing her husband in his attempt to sue the hospital trust for clinical negligence, had provided the coroner evidence from an expert witness claiming that the overdose had caused his wife's premature death.


John Doyle, principal lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who are representing the family, said: "The trust have now, after three years, admitted that administering the paracetamol overdose was negligent, however they continue to deny it caused or contributed to Laura's death.

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"Given Laura's incredibly tragic premature death, it is disappointing Mr Higginson and the family has had to wait so long, but it is right that the failings are now recognised by the trust and due process is followed.

"Independent expert evidence we commissioned was provided to the coroner and we welcome her decision to open the inquest."

An NHS trust spokesperson said: "The trust offers its sincere condolences to the family of the late Mrs Higginson. Following her death an immediate and thorough investigation was carried out. The findings of independent clinical experts do not concur with the views of Mr Higginson and will be presented to the coroner during the inquest."

Merseyside police an investigation was under way into Laura Higginson's death so could not comment further.