Ombudsman finds man suffered psychosis after ‘missed opportunity’ to inform him of steroid side effects

A 61-year-old man who had a severe eye infection was not fully informed about the potential side effects of steroids

A white bottle on its side with a range of colourful medicine pills and capsules spilling out of the bottle.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has found that a man who experienced psychosis after being prescribed steroids was not fully informed of potentially severe side effects of the medication. 

Andrew Holland, 61, received the medication at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in January 2022 as treatment for a severe eye infection.

After being prescribed steroids, Holland began to experience disrupted sleep and severe headaches.

For a month, Holland experienced hallucinations, confusion and periods of aggression. He would wander the street at different times of day and night.

After presenting at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s emergency department, he was diagnosed with steroid-induced psychosis.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found that while the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust was correct to prescribe Holland steroids for his eye condition, there was a missed opportunity to fully inform him of the potentially severe side effects.

The Ombudsman recommended the trust pay Holland £700 compensation in recognition of the distress he experienced.

Holland shared that his hallucinations included a bear at the end of his garden and a burglar coming over the roof.

“I had the ambulance sat outside for about half an hour while I insisted on doing my ironing before I went with them. It was just crazy,” he shared.

Holland shared that he did not blame the doctor as it is rare to have a reaction to steroids.

“I wouldn’t like to go through that again and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either. I want people to be aware of this that it can happen,” he said.