Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Scunthorpe hospital investigates baby vaccine overdose

Lawyers say the vaccine was administered by a junior doctor

An investigation is under way after a newborn baby was given 10 times the normal dose of a tuberculosis vaccine at Scunthorpe General Hospital.

The boy was injected with 0.5mg of the BCG vaccine instead of the usual 0.05mg dose, lawyers for his family said.

The boy, who was born on 5 February, is now being treated for tuberculosis by immunology specialists at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The Scunthorpe hospital trust said it had "launched a full investigation".

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which has been instructed to act on behalf of the baby's parents, said the vaccine was prescribed and administered by a junior doctor.

This case raises important questions about basic systems in hospitals to ensure the safe administration of drugs
David Body, Irwin Mitchell medical law specialist

It was also investigating reports that other children had been given vaccine overdoses.

David Body, a medical law specialist at the firm, said: "It is unclear how many people have been affected but we have received reports that others may also have been given the same overdose.

"This case raises important questions about basic systems in hospitals to ensure the safe administration of drugs, including vaccines."

A spokesman for the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "As soon as we were made aware of the incident we launched a full investigation which is ongoing.

"We continue to keep in touch with the parents, providing them with updates as to the results of the investigation."

No further details would be released because of patient confidentiality, the trust said.

Mr Body said: "This is a difficult time for the baby's family.

"Their baby is receiving treatment for TB, which has its own side effects, but they are hopeful that the treatment will be successful with no long term damage to their baby's health."

The four-week-old boy is in a stable condition at Sheffield Children's Hospital where doctors are working in conjunction with the National Poisons Information Service.

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