Antibiotic led to death, finds coroner
AN ALLERGIC reaction to an antibiotic killed an elderly man who had gone to the dentist to have a tooth removed, the Dublin coroner concluded yesterday.
Jim Hanley (78), a father of four, Cypress Grove Road, Templeogue, Dublin, went into anaphylactic shock at the Beacon Dental Clinic on September 12th, last year, 30 seconds after his dentist started administering the antibiotic. Despite resuscitation attempts by clinic staff and paramedics, he was pronounced dead within minutes of arriving at St Vincent’s hospital.
At a previous sitting of Dublin Coroner’s Court, Dr Brian Farrell heard that Mr Hanley had agreed with specialist oral surgeon Andrew Norris that he would undergo a tooth removal using local anaesthetic.
Mr Norris also recommended that an antibiotic – Amoxil – be administered during the procedure. Mr Hanley indicated that he had no allergies and had already been taking an antibiotic to deal with an abscess in the tooth.
However, shortly after Mr Norris administered the first dose of the antibiotic, Mr Hanley complained his neck was “on fire” and began clasping at his lower neck and upper chest.
Staff immediately initiated an emergency response including administering adrenalin and CPR. His wife of 49 years, Marie, was nearby being comforted by staff as their colleagues tried to revive him. However, despite their efforts, Mr Hanley never recovered.
The inquest had been adjourned after pathologist Dr Sarah Cross said Mr Hanley’s underlying heart disease could not be ruled out as a primary cause.
The coroner sought expert advice from Dr Mary Keogan, consultant immunologist at Beaumont Hospital, who reviewed the case.
Dr Keogan concluded Mr Hanley had died as a result of an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. “Multisystem involvement – throat discomfort and cardiovascular collapse – is difficult to attribute to alternative pathology,” she said.
Mr Hanley’s heart disease most likely influenced his ability to withstand a severe allergic reaction and his heart medication may have compromised resuscitation, she added. Dr Farrell gave the cause of death as an anaphylactic reaction following the administration of Amoxil. He returned a verdict of death by misadventure.