Northumbria University sued after botched experiment leaves two students in intensive care
Northumbria University has had to pay out £200,000 to each of the two students they sent to intensive care after botching a class experiment.
The sports science students named Alex Rossetto and Luke Parkin, had to be taken straight to A&E to be put on dialysis.
Their class was measuring the effect caffeine has on exercise, when a major miscalculation led to them consuming 100 times the recommended amount.
A judge claimed that the only reason they survived was because they were both young and fit men. Prosecutor Adam Farrer told Newcastle Crown Court that the pair should have been given 0.3g of caffeine in the orange juice mix, but were in fact given 30g.
To put that into perspective, this is a diagram of the correct dosage (right) next to the amount the boys were given:
There is 0.1g of caffeine in the average cup of coffee, so they consumed the equivalent of 300 cups of coffee.
It was concluded that the failure of the experiment was because the calculations were done on a mobile phone and the decimal point was put in the wrong place and there was no risk assessment.
The students were taken to hospital with side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision and rapid heartbeat.
Alex Rossetto spent six days in the hospital and lost approximately 12kg in weight.
The university admitted to the health and safety breach and now faces the £400,000 fine as well as a payment of £26,468 plus a £120 victim surcharge.
They told the court on Wednesday: "All those involved are deeply sorry and genuinely sorry for the breach in this case."
Thankfully, they have both made a full recovery.