Dad caught bug in Cyprus and died after being treated with just half recommended drug dose

A dad who caught a stomach bug on a family holiday died after he was treated with just half the recommended drug dose.

Colin Greenway, 63, was on a trip to Peyia, Cyprus, with his wife Sue, 62, their children, Ellen, 33, and Matthew, 26 and Sue’s mum, Ann, 83, when he became unwell after drinking bottled water.

Colin, a football referee, came home to Swaffham with Ellen and Matthew while Sue and Ann stayed out longer.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Hospital

He sought treatment after still feeling unwell and was admitted to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where it was discovered he had an infection disease called campylobacter.

The bug is associated with eating undercooked meat and seafood or drinking untreated water.

A junior doctor prescribed half the usual dosage of medication used to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

Colin was sent home when his blood results improved but died of pulmonary embolism four days later on October 29, 2022 – when he was found by his daughter.

Over the course of his hospital stay, his prescription was not checked by a senior clinician, consultant or pharmacist.

It was only when Sue, a retired medical practitioner, questioned whether he had been correctly dosed that the mistake was discovered.

Sue said: “It was an absolute shambles but my biggest concern around it is that had I not been a medical professional none of this would have come to light.

“My kids rang me and said ‘I have got terrible news – I found dad dead in bed’.

“I absolutely screamed. I went into complete shock.

“My whole world ended when he died.”

Sue had been ill herself with the bug and had just lost her dad, Gordon, 88, to natural causes in April 2022.

Colin had flown back to the UK and stayed with his daughter Ellen after his hospital stay after assuring Sue she didn’t need to come back herself to look after him.

She is devastated she didn’t get to say goodbye to her husband of 38 years.

Sue said: “I never got to say goodbye. It’s heartbreaking.

“He was so quick witted. He was very easy going. He lived for football.”

Sue decided to go the coroner after alarm bells rang after receiving the pathologist’s report.

Following an inquest into Colin’s death, a coroner warned further people could die if the hospital did not improve its approaches.

In a report to prevent future deaths, area coroner Yvonne Blake wrote: “It is the consultant doctor’s responsibility to check what their junior, unsupervised doctors do at the weekend when a patient is admitted.

“This consultant did not ever speak to this junior doctor about the misprescribing or know what action – if any – had been taken about it.

“I was informed by a senior nurse that other such drug errors have occurred since Mr Greenway died.”

Ms Blake said she was concerned that Colin received “no continuity of care” after being seen by three separate consultants over three days.

She added: “While the consultants, three saw Mr Greenway, continue to refuse to accept responsibility for doctors prescribing, this situation continues.”

She concluded the junior doctor had made an incorrect prescription, despite having clear guidelines.

She was concerned the consultants had considered it the job of pharmacists to check for errors while only providing service three days a week and were not “accepting responsibility” to monitor junior doctors’ prescriptions.

Govindan Raghuraman, acting medical director at the QEH, said: “On behalf of the Trust, I reiterate our sincere condolences to Mr Greenway’s family.

“We have reviewed Mr Greenway’s care in great detail and have carried out an internal investigation.

“The trust is developing an individualised action plan as a result of Mr Greenway’s inquest.

“Specific actions are being developed to address the coroner’s concerns.

“We will formally update the coroner on the progress as soon as actions are finalised, who will, in turn, update Mr Greenway’s family.”

Sue has now moved in with her mum Ann to live with her and said they are “widows together”.