A mother-in-law who threw up coffee-colored bile died of liver failure when inadvertently drinking too much Lemsip resulted in a paracetamol overdose.
Joan Ita Bergin, 58, from Lancashire, had been suffering from cough and bad chest for almost a week in December last year and was drinking lemongrass sachets to manage symptoms.
Her son Matthew called an ambulance on Christmas Day, noticing that his mother’s condition had deteriorated, and was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital.
Mrs Burgin, who was born in New Zealand, was vomiting coffee-colored bile and tests showed she had ‘significantly high’ liver enzymes and low oxygen levels.
Joan Ita Bergin, 58, was taken to the intensive care unit at the Royal Preston Hospital (pictured) after accidentally overdose on Lemsip
An inquiry heard Mrs. Burgin was drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but she also told doctors that she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol at times. It was not clear which Lemsip product he drank (file image)
He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, but his condition worsened and it was found that his liver was damaged. It was not clear which Lemsip product Mrs. Burgin drank.
Liver specialists at Leeds General Infirmary were consulted after finding that no additional treatment options were available.
Mrs. Burgin’s health continued to deteriorate and she died on January 7, 2022, at 3.25 pm.
An inquiry at Preston Coroner’s Court this week heard Mrs Burgin had also been drinking heavily.
Her son Matthew said in a statement that she drinks three to four cans of cider every day before work and up to 10 cans on the weekends.
Assistant coroner Kate Bissett said: ‘He says his mother was in general good health, but she rarely ate much, a full meal per week, and otherwise she would snack on things like marmalade on toast.
‘She drank plenty of water, but sometimes fainted due to lack of food.’
Inquiries heard Mrs. Burgin was drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but she also told doctors that she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol at times.
The recommended maximum dose of Lemsip is one sachet containing 1,000 mg of paracetamol every four to six hours.
Consultant Patrick Horgan said in a statement that Mrs Burgin had significantly elevated liver enzymes and was diagnosed with liver injury caused by an unintentional paracetamol overdose.
Mrs Burgin, who was born in New Zealand, was vomiting coffee-colored bile and tests showed she had ‘significantly high’ liver enzymes and low oxygen levels. Pictured: Royal Preston Hospital (file image)
She was given Parvolex, an antidote for a paracetamol overdose, but she continued to have episodes of vomiting blood.
On January 4, Dr. Liam Morris noted deteriorating liver enzymes and diagnosed Mrs. Burgin with acute liver failure. He died three days later.
The cause of death was given as multiple organ failure, pneumonia and acute liver failure due to unintentional paracetamol overdose. Contributing factors were cited as alcohol-related liver disease and esophageal ulceration.
Returning the conclusion of audacity, which occurs when death is due to the unintentional consequences of an intended act, the coroner said: ‘Joan Ita Bergin died on 7 January 2022 at the Royal Preston Hospital due to an unintentional multiple organ failure. Cause happened. Paracetamol overdose.’
An inquiry this week at Preston Coroner’s Court (pictured) heard Mrs. Burgin had also been drinking heavily. Her son Matthew said in a statement that she drank three to four cans of cider every day before work and up to 10 cans on weekends (file image)
A spokesperson for Reckitt, the maker of the Lemsip, told MailOnline: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear about Joan. [Ita] Burgin’s case.
‘We send our deepest condolences to his family.
‘At Reckitt, consumer safety is our top priority. We work closely with the MHRA and PAGB, along with other relevant associations, to ensure that all safety and packaging requirements are met for over-the-counter products containing paracetamol such as Lemsip.
‘Safety information and instructions for use are always reflected on the packaging and information leaflet.
‘As with any medicine, we would remind consumers and their caregivers to carefully read and follow the instructions on the packaging and patient information leaflets of all our medicinal products.
With respect to Lemsip Max Sachet we would like to remind consumers not to take more than 4 sachets in 24 hours, leaving at least 4-6 hours between doses if symptoms persist for more than three days or To consult a pharmacist if worsens and to call a doctor immediately if taking too much.
If our consumers have any additional concerns, we recommend that they speak with their healthcare professional.’