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Two sports science students in England were left fighting for their lives after taking enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee in a botched university experiment.

Students given potentially lethal dose of caffeine

Two sports science students in England were left fighting for their lives after taking enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee in a botched university experiment.

The Northumbria University has been fined £400,000 for the incident in March 2015 which caused students Alex Rossetto and Luke Parkin to be rushed to hospital and put on dialysis. They volunteered to participate in an experiment aiming to measure the effect of caffeine on exercise.

An error in the caffeine dosage occurred and the pair were given 100 times the correct quantity.

The students should have been given 0.3g of caffeine in the orange juice mix but were given 30g. There is 0.1g in the average cup of coffee.

The calculation for the caffeine used in the experiment had been done on a mobile phone, with the decimal point being put in the wrong place.

“No one, including the lab technicians or senior lecturer, checked to ensure the dosage had been correctly calculated,” prosecutor Adam Ferrer said.

The students suffered side effects, including blurred vision, shaking and a rapid heartbeat and were admitted to intensive care for several days where they underwent dialysis.

“If they had not been admitted to intensive care immediately for treatment, they could have died from a caffeine overdose,” Ferrer said.

Both students have since made a full physical recovery but are also proceeding with their own civil claims.

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