Judith Marshall, 72, died after chemist’s morphine error

A GRANDMOTHER died after being given morphine six times more powerful than she was prescribed.

Judith Marshall, 72, of Old Malton, had been prescribed the painkiller by her doctor at the Derwent Surgery in Malton, but shortly afterwards, Beecham Pharmacy next door gave her the wrong morphine capsules.

The mother-of-five was found dead at her home two days later, an inquest was told.

Ian Beecham said in a statement read to the inquest: “I am desperately sorry for the mistake I made in dispensing a prescription for Mrs Marshall on 28th September. 2009. I take full responsibility for that error and all I can do is to offer a sincere apology.

“I hope the Marshall family will accept this public apology in the spirit in which it is intended and I want to pay tribute to Mr Marshall and the other members of the Marshall family for their dignity over the past three years waiting for the conclusion of this investigation.”

The inquest heard from a Home Office pathologist that Mrs Marshall had died because she had had “an excessive dose of morphine”.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, York Coroner Donald Coverdale said: “Mrs Marshall took the capsules in good faith and made no contribution whatsoever to her death, which was caused by human error.”

Mr Coverdale will make a report recommending that improvements be made centrally to safeguards and systems to reduce the risk of recurrence of such a tragedy.

After the inquest, Graham Ford of Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, a spokesman for the family, said: “The Marshall family, with its five children and many grandchildren, is a very close one and Judith was very much at the centre of it. The impact of her meeting her end in the way in which it occurred has been nothing short of devastating for the whole family.”

North Yorkshire Police confirmed a full investigation had been carried out after Mrs Marshall’s death and the CPS had decided against a prosecution.

Mr Beecham’s solicitors declined to say whether he continues to work at the pharmacy.

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