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Inquest rules on medication error deaths

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The jury at an inquest into the deaths of 10 people at a hospital in Hampshire has ruled that three of the elderly patients who died were given inappropriate medication.

For four weeks the panel at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court have been looking at the circumstances relating to the deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital more than 10 years ago.

The inquest jury decided that Robert Wilson, 75, Elsie Devine, 88, and Geoffrey Packman, 67, were given medication which was not appropriate for their condition, and which contributed to their deaths, although it had been given for therapeutic reasons.

They also ruled that medication had contributed to the deaths of Elsie Lavender, 83, and Arthur Cunningham, 79, but was appropriate for their condition.

The jury ruled that the deaths of the other five patients, Leslie Pittock, Helena Service, Ruby Lake, Enid Spurgin and Sheila Gregory, were not related to the medication.

The inquest heard evidence from family members, medical experts and staff at the hospital, including Dr Jane Barton, who was investigated by police over the deaths but not charged with any offence.

A series of investigations were carried out by Hampshire Police into the treatment of 92 patients at the hospital in the late 1990s but no action was taken.

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