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Posted on 11th October 2017

Leukaemia Patient In Remission Killed By Cancer Drug Error

A 15 year old girl with leukaemia was in remission but medics gave her a dose of Methotrexate, an oral chemotherapy drug which led to her death a hearing concluded recently.

A Consultant Haematologist at the Alder Hay Children’s Hospital in Liverpool gave the medication for leukaemia whilst the patient was undergoing dialysis due to kidney failure. The administered Methotrexate caused “toxic effects” on the medication she was receiving for her kidney failure.

The adverse reaction, caused the teenager to suffer from blistering and cracking skin which broke down as well as regularly occurring headaches and nose bleeds. The on-going side effects eventually caused the girl to have several cardiac arrests leading to her death.

The Coroner recorded the cause of death as asphyxiation due to a respiratory tract haemorrhage caused by methotrexate toxicity which in turn was caused by renal failure due to acute promyelocytic leukaemia.

The family of the teenager commented “In December 2012, we were informed that [their daughter] was in remission from leukaemia and although she had kidney failure which would require a transplant in the future, we felt like we had turned a corner.

However within a week of starting the maintenance medication to aid her remission she had deteriorated and following another truly horrific week our beautiful daughter passed away.

We initially thought she had suffered a bad reaction to the medication and it was months before we found out the truth. You can imagine the heartache this caused to us as well as our close family and friends”


When doctors or consultants decide on a treatment plan for a patient the past medical history should be carefully reviewed including the medication currently being taken and the reasons for that medication.

Medical professionals have various forms of reference materials such as the BNF (British National Formulary) which detail the medications which can or should never be used together when treating patient’s medical conditions.

If you have received treatment in the form of medication which has caused serious and long lasting side effects, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim.

Contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment