I was reminded to write this post by the sad death of a teenage girl in hospital, due to an overdose of Paracetamol. In Danielle’s case, the Paracetamol was administered to her intravenously and a fairly usual adult dose killed her.
The night I had my operation my foot began to swell, this is quite usual post-surgery and I had been warned to expect it. What I hadn’t bargained for was the tightness of the bandages and the incredible pain the swelling would cause. Usually anti-inflammatories are prescribed at the hospital, I found out later that they had decided against giving them to me as I have had liver problems in the past, following the taking of anti-inflammatories for my arthritis.
I had been given Co-Codamol as a post-surgery pain reliever, this contains (and clearly states on the side) Paracetamol. I knew full well about the dangers of taking more than one type of Paracetamol at once, for example Lemsip for a cold mustn’t be taken with a head ache remedy etc.. However, I was in a great deal of pain so as the night went on I began taking Paracetamol and doubled my dose of Co-Codamol. I know, I know! You just can’t think of ANYTHING apart from the searing pain though.. by morning I started to be sick, a lot. I called the GP out, he finally arrived at 2.30pm and told me I had over-dosed on Paracetamol. He was, naturally very annoyed and concerned but thankfully (as I had been so sick) decided not to send me to A & E. I was really shocked, I honestly had no idea how easy it was to overdose, I imagined having to take handfuls of pills all at once to cause real medical problems and never considered the impact a slow release of them could have on your internal organs.
I have learned a very important lesson and am SO thankful that I seem to have got away with my stupidity in one piece. I am now taking anti-inflammatories short-term, which are helping with the swelling but I don’t want to even think about my liver! So the lesson for today is PLEASE DONT UNDER-ESTIMATE PARACETAMOL. EVER.
RIP Danielle Welsh