Pharmacy technician at Queen’s Hospital receives award after spotting potentially fatal error in patient’s medicine

Maisie Hart has won a pharmacy award. Photo: BHRUT

Maisie Hart has won a pharmacy award. Photo: BHRUT - Credit: Archant

A Queen’s Hospital pharmacy technician whose quick work meant that she potentially saved the life of an 80-year-old-woman, has received a special award from the Pharmacy Congress.

Maisie Hart has worked at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust for more than five years, however there was a time when working at the hospital looked like a distant dream.

The 23-year-old from Rainham was working at McDonalds after leaving school when her grandmother, Elaine Vickers who was a healthcare assistant at the Trust for 14 years, encouraged Maisie to apply for a job at the Trust.

She said: “Although going from McDonald’s to a pharmacy is quite a change, there are similarities. In both I’m assembling an order, whether that’s food or medicine. McDonald’s was really busy too, so I think that’s helped me manage the pressure here.

“And after dealing with abuse from customers it’s easy to deal with patients who might be unhappy – I can understand and sympathise with them as they can be much more anxious in hospital.

“I fell into my job here and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Maisie’s manager nominated her for the Pharmacy Professional of the Month award after she spotted that a patient was actually on a higher dose of lithium than she should have been.

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“It was a patient in her 80s and when she came in she was quite delirious,” said Maisie.

“I noticed that she was taking double the dose and was very dehydrated, so doctors were able to start treating her straight away. It could have been fatal so it was lucky that she came in when she did.

“It was lovely to get the award as I wasn’t expecting it. It also came with a bottle of champagne!”

Maisie’s role as a pharmacy technician involves dispensing medicine, checking medicines patients bringing in and giving them advice on how to take it.

She added: “I really love spending time with patients.

“I work a lot on our elderly care wards and when you spend time with a patient, that interaction can make their day.”

Maisie is currently working towards her accuracy checking technician qualification.