THE death of a West Oxfordshire leukaemia patient as a result of a rare adverse reaction to chemotherapy has prompted cancer specialists at the Churchill Hospital to rethink their treatment processes.
Celia Garrick, 66, of Finstock, near Charlbury, suffered neurotoxicity after being given standard chemotherapy drug combinations DA3+10 and then FLAG-Ida.
That in turn caused her to lapse in and out of consciousness, which led to pneumonia and death on November 14 last year.
Speaking at an inquest into the death at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court yesterday, Prof Paresh Vyas, a haematologist at the hospital, said: “We had no idea Celia was going to be affected in this way.
“We haven’t had a case like this in Oxford.”
The inquest heard that less than one per cent of leukaemia patients in the UK, suffered the same reaction.
The Churchill Hospital in Oxford is one of the leading cancer treatments centres in the UK.
Prof Vyas said the case of Mrs Garrick, a retired art gallery director and mother-of-three, was “heartbreaking.”
He said: “What we did contributed to death, but if we don’t treat there is an inevitable death”.
The “paradox”, however, was that her chemotherapy had sent the cancer into remission, he said.
Prof Vyas added: “This case has really made me think.
“We need to find out a lot more about why patients are affected in this way.”
Coroner Darren Salter recorded a narrative verdict.
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