Blind grandmother died after pharmacy delivery driver gave her morphine for neighbor

A blind grandmother has died after a drugstore delivery man mistakenly gave her morphine intended for a neighbor of the same name, an investigation has found.

Christina Ann Fletcher, 58, overdosed on drugs after she was accidentally delivered to her home.

The tablets were actually intended for Ann Fletcher, a patient at the same pharmacy who lived just four doors down from King Street, Heywood.

Tragically, the confusion had fatal consequences.

The delivery driver did not ask Christina Fletcher to confirm her name and address or sign her order, instead he gave her the “top sheet of the delivery book” to “keep her out of trouble”.

Christina Fletcher, who suffered from an inherited condition that left her virtually blind, was found dead at her home on August 12 last year.

An investigation in Heywood learned Tuesday that Ms Fletcher, a former nurse, was also being treated for a number of other illnesses, including epilepsy, depression and anxiety, and was taking a variety of prescription medications, including anti-epileptic medication pregabalin.

But eight days before his death, morphine intended for his neighbor Ann Fletcher, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, was wrongly delivered to him by Internet Pharmacy, on Manchester Road, Heywood.

Pharmacy staff didn’t realize their mistake until more than a week later, when Ann Fletcher’s daughter called on August 12 to say her mother had not received her medication.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, staff made several attempts to contact Christina Fletcher, called her father, and attempted to contact her son Ian, who was on vacation, before calling the police. .

Officers entered the townhouse and found Christina Fletcher’s body.

Nine 50 mg morphine tablets were missing from the package delivered to him.

Andrew Watkins, who worked as a part-time delivery driver for Internet Pharmacy, told the inquest that he “mistakenly issued the wrong prescription”.

He added: “I don’t know how it happened. I had to be far away elsewhere, I was not focused, that’s for sure.

Mr Watkins, a former truck driver, said it was normal procedure for Christina Fletcher to sign her medications to confirm she had received them.

But, Mr Watkins said, at times Ms Fletcher, due to her failing eyesight, was unable to sign or needed help signing.

On August 4, Mr Watkins said he did not ask him to sign his order, but rather gave him the “top sheet of the delivery book” to “keep him out of trouble”.

When asked by the lawyer representing his family if he had actually posted the drugs in the mailbox, Mr. Watkins replied “absolutely not”.

Mr Watkins also said he was unaware of the pharmacy’s “standard operating procedure”, which involves asking patients to confirm their name and address when a prescription is delivered.

Sajad Issop, who at the time of Ms Fletcher’s death was working as a backup pharmacist at the Internet Pharmacy, said that “controlled drugs” such as morphine were kept in a special cabinet in the pharmacy and prescriptions for these drugs were verified by three people. before being sent for delivery.

When asked by Coroner Lisa Hashmi if the pharmacy has a “red flag” system to notify staff when two patients share similar names and addresses, Mr. Issop said no.

Home office pathologist Dr Charles Wilson said Ms Fletcher had taken a “high dose of morphine”.

She was also suffering from “acute pneumonia” and Dr Wilson said that quite high levels of pregabalin were also found in her system.

He gave the cause of death as “pneumonia due to the toxicity of opiates and pregabalin”.

Christina Fletcher’s son Ian, who is represented by lawyers Slater and Gordon, described his mother as an “extremely loving” person who was “devoted” to her children and grandchildren.

He added, “I don’t want to place any blame on Mr. Watkins. If it was the wrong drug that was delivered and that was the cause of death, then my concern is with the pharmacy and the way the drugs are managed.

“We have to learn lessons so that this does not happen again.

“It was clear that some measures had not been taken, or that there were no measures in place, to control controlled drugs.”

The investigation began on Tuesday, October 10 and is expected to last three days.

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