Mother, 58, dies of liver failure after accidentally overdose on LEMSIP, investigation hears

The mother of a child who was vomiting coffee-colored bile from liver failure died after accidentally overdosing on paracetamol by drinking too much Lemsip.

Joanne Etta Bergin, 58, from Lancashire, had a cough and bad chest for about a week in December last year and had been drinking Lemsip sachets to control symptoms.

Her son Matthew called an ambulance on Christmas Day, after noticing his mother’s condition was deteriorating, and she was taken to Preston Royal Infirmary.

Ms Bergen, who was born in New Zealand, was vomiting coffee-colored bile, and tests revealed she had significantly elevated liver enzymes and low oxygen levels.

Juan Etta Bergin, 58, has been moved to the intensive care unit at Royal Preston Hospital (pictured) after accidentally overdose on Lemsip

An investigation heard that Ms Bergen had been drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but she also told doctors that she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol on occasion.  It was not clear what exactly Lemsip product you drank (file photo)

An investigation heard that Ms Bergen had been drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but she also told doctors that she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol on occasion. It was not clear what exactly Lemsip product you drank (file photo)

She was transferred to the intensive care unit but worsened and she was diagnosed with liver failure. It was not clear which Lemsip product Ms. Bergen drank exactly.

The Leeds General Hospital hepatologists who were consulted advised that no additional treatment options were available.

Mrs. Bergin continued to deteriorate and died at 3.25 pm on January 7, 2022.

An inquest at Preston Coroner Court heard this week that Ms Bergin was excessively drunk.

Her son, Matthew, said in a statement that she would drink three to four cans of apple juice every day before work and up to 10 cans on the weekends.

Assistant coroner Kate Bissett said: “He says his mother was naturally healthy but rarely eats much, one full meal a week, or else she would snack like marmalade on toast.

“She drank a lot of water but sometimes fainted due to lack of food.”

The investigation heard that Ms Bergen had been drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours, but she also told doctors that she had taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol on occasion.

The maximum recommended dose of Lemsip is one sachet containing 1,000 mg of paracetamol every four to six hours.

Counsellor Patrick Horgan said in a statement that Ms Bergin had a significant elevation of liver enzymes and had been diagnosed with liver injury due to an unintended paracetamol overdose.

Ms Bergen, who was born in New Zealand, was vomiting coffee-colored bile, and tests revealed she had significantly elevated liver enzymes and low oxygen levels.  Pictured: Royal Preston Hospital (file photo)

Ms Bergen, who was born in New Zealand, was vomiting coffee-colored bile, and tests revealed she had significantly elevated liver enzymes and low oxygen levels. Pictured: Royal Preston Hospital (file photo)

She was given Parvolex, an antidote to a paracetamol overdose, but continued to have bouts of bloody vomiting.

On January 4, Dr. Liam Morris noticed deteriorating liver enzymes and diagnosed Ms. Bergin with acute liver failure. She died three days later.

The cause of death was given as multi-organ failure, pneumonia, and acute liver failure resulting from an unintended overdose of paracetamol. Contributing factors such as alcohol-related liver disease and esophageal ulceration have been cited.

Responding to the outcome of the misadventure, which is when death is caused by the unintended consequences of an intentional act, the coroner said: “Juan Etta Bergin died on January 7, 2022, at the Royal Preston Hospital with multiple organ failure due to an unintentional accident. Paracetamol overdose.

An inquest at Preston Coroner Court (pictured) heard this week that Ms Bergen was also drunk.  Her son Matthew said in a statement that she will drink three to four cans of apple juice every day before work and up to 10 cans on the weekends (file photo)

An inquest at Preston Coroner Court (pictured) heard this week that Ms Bergen was also drunk. Her son Matthew said in a statement that she will drink three to four cans of apple juice every day before work and up to 10 cans on the weekends (file photo)

A spokeswoman for Reckitt, the company that makes Lemsip, told MailOnline: ‘We are very saddened to hear about Joanne’s news. [Ita] Bergen case.

We send our deepest condolences to her 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 for over-the-counter products containing paracetamol, such as Lemsip, are met.

Safety information and directions for use are always reflected on the packaging and information leaflets.

As with any medication, we like to remind consumers and their caregivers to carefully read and follow the instructions on the packaging and the patient information leaflet for all of our medicinal products.

With regard to Lemsip Max Sachets, we would like to remind consumers not to exceed more than 4 sachets in 24 hours, and to leave at least 4-6 hours between doses, if symptoms persist for more than three days or worsen consult your pharmacist and to contact your physician immediately if taking a lot.

If our consumers have any additional concerns, we recommend speaking to their healthcare professional.

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