Probe as teenager dies hours after being discharged from hospital


By Kirsty Topping

Linzi McGowan died hours after being discharged from ERI following a methadone overdose

AN investigation is underway after a teenage girl died just hours after being discharged from hospital following a methadone overdose.

NHS Lothian is now investigating the care of 19-year-old Linzi McGowan after she suffered a heart attack at the house of a friend following treatment at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A senior consultant at the hospital has admitted that

“normal policy’ would be to admit patients who had overdosed for observation rather than release them home.

Linzi’s family is now considering legal action but health bosses insist their actions are unlikely to have contributed to her death.

Linzi, a former heroin addict, quit her drug habit in 2009 by going

“cold turkey’ as had been drug free for more than a year when she took methadone on September 25 last year.

Following equiries by Linzi’s own GP, Dr Janet Skinner, the emergency medicine consultant at ERI, wrote to concede that there has been

“some concerning aspects’ of Linzi’s care.

She said that the locum doctor who had cared for Linzi failed to administer repeat doses of an effective anti-opiate drug, something which she claimed should

“always’ be done when the patient may be discharged.

She also apologized for discharging Linzi.

In the letter, Dr Skinner said:

“It is normally our policy to admit patients who have ingested methadone for several hours’ observation’I can find no evidence that these aspects were considered or that a senior opinion was sought.

“She should at least have been offered admission, and I will speak to the locum doctor responsible for her care. “

Linzi’s father, Eric McGowan, said the family was considering suing the hospital for what he felt was


He said:

“Serious errors were made. It’s like they look at her like she was just another junkie, gave her some treatment then got her out.

“I’ve read a letter from the hospital which admits mistakes were made – if things had been done correctly maybe she could have been here today. “

Mr McGowan said a police toxicology report confirmed the presence of methadone and diazepam in Linzi’s blood.

Dr David Farquharson, medical director of NHS Lothian, urged the McGowan family to contact them to discus Linzi’s care.

He added:

“We have launched a full investigation into the care Linzi received. “


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