Man's overdose death at Macquarie University Hospital shouldn't have happened

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A healthy 54-year-old man who died after routine knee surgery was given stronger medication meant for another patient, an inquest has heard.

Paul Lau died from a drug overdose at Macquarie University Hospital in June 2015, about six hours after undergoing a left knee reconstruction operation.

A four-day inquest has begun in the NSW Coroners Court into how and why the medication error occurred, and what could be learned to ensure such an incident never happens again.