Five years after suffering brain damage from an intravenous food supplement prepared with too much magnesium, an Irish child died of complications due to pneumonia.

Elaine Barrett, from Galway, was born prematurely in 2003.  At less than six weeks old, while still in the hospital, she was given a special food supplement.  According to the Irish Independent News, the supplement contained magnesium levels 120 times above normal.

Dr.  Kevin Dunne, a consultant pediatrician at Galway University Hospital told the newspaper, “Two bags of TPN had been ordered but when the first of these were fed to Elaine on May 25, 2003, she became extremely agitated and her condition deteriorated.  She was not given the second bag of TPN.” 

B.Braun Medical, the  multinational corporation that manufactured the Total Parental Nutrition (TPN),  initially tried to blame the hospital, but an internal investigation later found that an error occurred when magnesium from the manufacture of a previous bag of supplement was left in the supply line and went into the fluid that Elaine received.  It went undetected and was shipped to Galway.

Earlier this month the Barrett’s received an apology from the German firm.  According to Irish Independent News, a civil action has been reached between the family and the medical company in recent weeks but is still waiting to be finalized by Ireland’s High Court. 

Frank and Eileen Barrett were told their daughter had little chance of survival after consuming the supplement, but Elaine lived until October of 2008.  Dr. Dunne said the reason she lived so long was because of the love and care she got from her parents.