Case Study: Gentamycin Toxicity - Negligent Drug Treatment

Compensation: £350,000

Katherine, 43 years old, Manchester

A woman has been awarded £350,000 in compensation after consistent negligence from doctors during treatment which resulted in permanent damage.

Katherine had a long history of renal problems and commenced chronic ambulatory peritoneal renal dialysis (CAPD) following the insertion of a Tenchkoff catheter into her abdomen.

Bacterial infection of the catheter or the dialysate leading to peritonitis is common in CAPD and Katherine required antibiotics (Flucloxacillin, Vancomycin, Gentamycin and Metronidazole) because of cloudy dialysate and discharge from around the catheter.

Mismanaged Gentamycin dosage leading to illness

Two months later the dialysate in the bag was again cloudy and Gentamycin 40 mg daily prescribed. The records also mention 80 mgs of Gentamycin. This dose (40/80mgs) continued daily for the next 2 weeks, self-administered directly into the dialysate bag.

After two weeks the trough Gentamycin level (i.e. just before next dose is due) was found to be raised at 6.7 mg/l (ideal is less than 1 mg/l). It was checked the following day when it was still raised at 4.0mg/l so Katherine was advised to omit one dose. The daily 40 mg then continued for a further week, i.e. 3 weeks plus in total.

Katherine attended the hospital with symptoms of vomiting, dizziness and noises in the ears. She was unable to stand for long periods. A diagnosis of Gentamycin ototoxicity was made and the drug was discontinued.

Further course of Gentamycin leads to permanent damage

Four months later Katherine had another episode of pseudomonas peritonitis and again received a course of Gentamycin. This time, the blood levels were kept between 1 and 2 mg/l.

Katherine suffered permanent damage to the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear, which is a well-documented side effect of Gentamycin toxicity. This resulted in severe dizziness and loss of balance.

The claim

JMW Solicitors alleged that it was negligent to fail to measure trough Gentamycin levels regularly (at least on alternate days) and fail to discontinue treatment within 7 days.  It was also alleged that it was negligent to administer Gentamycin again despite the history of toxicity.


The hospital made a full admission of breach of duty (negligence) and causation (that the negligence caused an injury). Katherine received £350,000 compensation.

Have you also suffered side effects from incorrectly prescribed drugs?

Speaking to a specialist solicitor to speak about your own individual situation could not be simpler. Call the experienced team at JMW today on 0800 054 6512, or allow us to get in contact with you by filling in your contact details on our online enquiry form.

< Back to main prescription error claims page

Endorsed By


Read more
Call us now on 0800 054 6512 for advice on Clinical Negligence

Spotlight on Cauda Equina Syndrome
Wildcard SSL Certificates