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40,000 for man plunged into horrific 'twilight world' by tranquillisers

'GPS MADE ME INTO ZOMBIE'

Scunthorpe Telegraph
June 25, 2002
Front Page Headline News
by Sarah Wells

A man who spent more than a decade living in a state of 'suicidal depression' after being prescribed powerful drugs by his GP has agreed a 40,000 settlement.

Raymond Nimmo, of Bottesford, was prescribed diazepam, commonly known as Valium, by his doctor and he took it thinking it would make him better.

Unfortunately for Mr Nimmo, what followed was what he describes as a 'twilight world of tranquillisers'.

He said: "I was suicidal, I couldn't do anything. I lost my job - my wife and son lost a husband and a father - our lives were wrecked."

However, Mr Nimmo's wife Diane (46) and his son have stood by and supported him.

In 1984, Mr Nimmo (50) consulted Dr Shambulingappa at his Cottage Beck Road surgery about a dental infection. He was prescribed an antibiotic, but suffered what he now knows was an allergic reaction which gave him severe abdominal pains.

At the time, he was told the pain was caused by a muscle spasm and was prescribed a powerful drug (Xanax).

The pain persisted and Mr Nimmo, who saw both Dr Shambhulingappa and his wife Dr Ugargol, was prescribed different tranquillisers until, by early 1985, he was taking high doses of diazepam.

And he was also prescribed a cocktail of powerful antidepressants and other drugs to try and treat the side-effects.

Within a year, Mr Nimmo had to leave his job as a company director and existed on state benefits.

"I had to give up my right to have more children as I thought I was too mentally unstable to be a father," he said.

In 1998, an ultrasound scan at Scunthorpe General Hospital revealed the true problem.

He said: "The surgeon looked at me and said the drugs you are addicted to will damage your auto-immune system - I was stunned."

Mr Nimmo changed his GP and was helped through a three-month programme to wean him off the drug.

Last June he was given a clean bill of mental health, although he suspects he may have permanent brain damage, and still suffers from muscular pains and high-pitched whistling in his ears. He has also been diagnosed as having Protracted Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Mr Nimmo said: "I'm not someone who wants revenge, I just wanted justice."

Legal action against his GPs was not easy but after three years of battle, the 40,000 was settled.

Mr Nimmo's solicitor, Caroline Moore of Sheffield based Medical Solicitors said: "I think it is disgusting what happened to Mr Nimmo.

"His GPs just carried on prescribing Valium without checking on him and effectively turned him into a walking zombie. We suspect there may be other cases but if they are not reported, how do the public know?"

Now Mr Nimmo is fighting a battle to help other people like him. He said: "Now the floodgates are open, more people may come forward."

The GPs were this morning unavailable for comment.

For more information, log onto Mr Nimmo's website at: www.benzo.org.uk

by Sarah Wells


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