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Morphine overdose sped up death: coroner

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016

Doctors at a north Tasmanian hospital mistakenly gave a cancer patient a morphine dose 24 times greater than intended, expediting death, a coroner says.

Teressa Maree Beswick, 45, died in October 2014 at Latrobe's Mersey Community Hospital where she was admitted for pain linked to cervical cancer and over a 12-hour period emergency department doctors gave her more than 40mg of morphine per hour, almost the same amount she should have received in a day.

"The morphine overdose played a secondary role in her death in that it accelerated its arrival but only by a relatively short but inderterminable period," coroner Rod Chandler said on Wednesday, recommending that pharmaceutical protocols at the hospital be reviewed to prevent future overdoses.

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