Medication Error Claims

By Daniel Boimler. Last Updated 10th August 2022. Did you suffer after being given the wrong medication? Did an error in a prescription cause your existing condition to worsen or create a new condition entirely?

If so, you may be a victim of pharmacist malpractice and this could entitle you to claim compensation from the party responsible. An error in medication dispensing could you harm which could include suffering from a short term illness, a serious injury and, in some cases, even death.

Wrong medication negligence

If negligence by a pharmacy caused you to suffer avoidable harm, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.

This guide provides useful information and impartial advice on how to pursue a prescription compensation claim for avoidable harm.

When you are ready to discuss your claim, a friendly adviser from our expert team will be waiting to take your call. The number to call is 0800 652 3087. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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A Guide On Your Rights If Given The Wrong Medication

Whether we fall ill or injured, we rely on medication and prescription drugs to relieve discomfort we may be experiencing and pharmacists and GPs have a duty of care to ensure that the correct medicine is dispensed to the right person. If mistakes are made the repercussions could be detrimental to your health and well-being.

In this guide, we look at what steps to take in order to pursue settlements for wrong prescriptions in the UK and how much compensation could be awarded in a successful negligence claim against the responsible party. We also look to answer common questions, such as:

  • “I’ve been given the wrong medication, what are my rights?”
  • “What are my rights if I have been given the wrong medication?”
  • “My pharmacy gave me someone else’s medication in the UK and my condition has worsened, what should I do?”

According to the NHS, 1 in 20 prescriptions are made in error. Even GPs could make mistakes on a regular basis while prescribing medication. There are two ways errors may occur, either by a doctor or a pharmacist which is described in further detail throughout this guide. With this said, it is possible for mistakes to be made while administering medication across a variety of healthcare sectors, such as in hospitals, GPs and even care homes.

Because medical professionals are responsible for their patients’ health, failure to uphold this duty of care could have severe repercussions which could include brain injuries. More on this in further detail in the following sections.

What Does Being Given The Wrong Medication Mean?

As previously mentioned, there are two common ways when this could happen. The first is when a doctor fails to note information from your medical records correctly and as a result important details are missed which could include whether you are allergic to a specific medicine. The second is if you are given the wrong medication at a chemist because of an error on the part of the pharmacist.

Examples of pharmacy negligence cases in the UK include:

  • Given the wrong medication at a pharmacy
  • Incorrect dosages
  • Prescription of medicines which interact badly with each other
  • Dispensing of medicines which cause allergic reactions or heighten an existing condition.

Should this be the case, you could suffer harm in a variety of different ways, many of which are described in further detail later on. In more severe cases, the consequences could be life-threatening. Though these are some of the most common examples of negligence, the list is not exhaustive. If you feel that you were made to suffer from being given the incorrect medication, you should seek legal advice from a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.

How Could You Be Affected By Being Given The Wrong Medication?

There are many ways why you could be affected by being given the wrong medication. And the damage you suffer could range in severity, from nausea or fatigue to anaphylactic shock or, in a worse case scenario, it could prove fatal.

The severity of the damage you may suffer would depend on your reaction to having been given the wrong mediation. For example, an allergic reaction could result in renal failure, brain damage and permanent damage to other vital organs.

If you were made to suffer having been given incorrect medication, or you are aware of someone close to you who has suffered, contact us today to speak with a clinical negligence solicitor who would assess your claim before advising on how best to proceed.

What Duty Of Care Do Pharmacists Owe Patients?

As with many healthcare professionals, there is an expectation that pharmacists should be able to identify potential risks to a patient’s well-being. However, this duty of care extends far beyond simply spotting hazards. If there is a potential for any risk, a pharmacist must professionally intervene as soon as possible as failure to do so could be detrimental to your health. An example knowing that specific medication should not be taken at the same time. The extent to which pharmacists are responsible for the health and well-being of a person is upheld by The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013. In brief, these regulations set out the reasonable standard of responsibilities that an NHS pharmacist must comply with.

If a pharmacist fails to exercise their professional judgement and overlooks a potential risk to a person, it may be possible to prove negligence. In order to do so, a personal injury lawyer must demonstrate three basic factors for a negligence claim against a pharmacist to be valid:

  • The first is that a duty of care was owed to the person in question
  • Secondly, the medical professional in question (in this case, a pharmacist) did not meet this duty of care
  • Thirdly, as a result of this neglect, the patient was made to suffer

What Are Your Legal Rights If Given The Wrong Medication By A GP, Hospital, Pharmacist Or Care Home?

You may be entitled to a settlement if you were made to suffer from pharmacist malpractice. Regardless of the healthcare sector you were harmed in, if you suffered was the result of third-party negligence then you may be eligible to claim compensation.

It is worth noting that a compensation claim is not just limited to pharmaceutical negligence, if you have been a victim of GP clinical negligence or a form of hospital clinical negligence, you could also make a claim for compensation against the responsible party.

Wrong Dose Medication Errors?

The definition of an error is “failure to successfully complete a course of action, whether done through ignorance or inadvertence, which therefore makes the intended aim unachievable”.

However, a wrong dose medication error is seen as a failure by a healthcare professional that either has the potential to, or leads to unnecessary harm to a patient. These errors could arise in almost any setting. In this section, we llook at how the wrong dosage could cause harm.

An error in medication could be any of the following:

  • Under prescribing
  • Over-prescribing
  • Prescription errors
  • Incorrect strengths
  • Contaminants
  • Wrong medication prescribed
  • Incorrect labels/packaging
  • Failure to monitor and alter dosage when required
  • Errors in writing prescriptions (such as ineligibility)

It is therefore important for medical practitioners to detect these mistakes wherever possible and if they fail to do so and you suffer as a result, you could be entitled to seek compensation from the negligent party.

Allergic Reactions Caused By Being Given The Wrong Medication

The risk of an allergic reaction caused by the wrong medication is likely to be heightened if a pharmacist ignores, or fails to acknowledge that there are allergens in prescription drugs. This could include in a range of pharmaceutical drugs, although the most common is penicillin. However, it is also possible for this to occur in cases of patients suffering from depression and being prescribed the wrong medication.

In some cases, the blame may lie with the doctor who prescribed the drug to begin with, as this is an error on their part. Although it is sometimes possible for a medical malpractice solicitor to file a claim against a pharmacist because they essentially act as gatekeepers and should therefore, spot errors in prescriptions before dispensing them.

Harmful Drug Interactions Caused By Being Given The Wrong Medication

A harmful drug interaction could cause lifelong damage and could even be fatal if a patient is given medications which are known to interact with each other. For example, those who suffer from epilepsy are likely to increase their chances of harmful drug interaction in comparison to those who suffer from other health issues because of the medication they routinely have to take. In some cases, adverse drug reaction are preventable which means if such a situation does arise, it may be possible for a legal representative to prove it could have been avoided had the correct precautions been taken. Should this be the case and you suffered harm, you may be entitled to seek compensation by filing a medical negligence claim.

Time Limits To Claim Compensation If Given The Wrong Medication

The majority of medical negligence claims have a three-year time limit attached to them. This means the claimant has up to three years from the date of an incident to pursue a claim. However, it should be noted that there are exceptions to this rule.

For example, as not all victims of medical malpractice are immediately aware of their symptoms, this date could start from the moment a psychological condition is formally diagnosed by a medical professional. On top of this, if the victim is under the age of 18, then a claim could be made on their behalf by a parent/guardian. If a claim is not made on their behalf, the child then has up until their 21st birthday to pursue the claim themselves.

If you would like to discuss these exceptions in more detail, please call our team of experts today.

Medication Errors – Compensation Payout Examples

There can be many different causes of medication errors. This is why the value of claims for injuries and illnesses brought on by these errors will vary on a case-by-case basis. This section includes a table with some example figures for certain ailments you could sustain due to a medication error.

These figures have been taken from the most recent edition (published 2022) of a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is used by legal professionals when they are calculating how much you should be awarded in general damages. This is the figure that compensates you for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.

Non-Traumatic Injury (E.g. Food Poisoning)Severe£38,430 to £52,500A case of severe toxicosis will result in acute pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. The individual will require hospital admission for several days/weeks. As a result, the disease will significantly impact the ability to work, enjoyment of life, irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.
Non-Traumatic Injury (E.g. Food Poisoning)Serious But Short-Lived£9,540 to £19,200These symptoms will simulate those listed above but on a much smaller scale. The individual will, again, require hospital admission; though this will last for some days rather than weeks. These symptoms will muchly diminish over a two to four week period but discomfort and disturbance to bodily functions will remain.
Non-Traumatic Injury (E.g. Food Poisoning)Significant Discomfort£3,950 to £9,540A complete recovery from a non-traumatic injury of this nature could be made within 1-2 years.
Non-Traumatic Injury (E.g. Food Poisoning)Varying Degrees£910 to £3,950This injury will vary in degrees of pain (including cramps and continuing diarrhoea). Although compared to the symptoms listed above, these symptoms will only persist for a maximum of some weeks.
Kidney InjurySerious£169,400 to £210,400In brief, an injury to this degree of severity will cause permanent damage to one or both kidneys. There may also be a risk of losing one or both kidneys too.
Kidney InjurySignificantUp to £63,980A person could expect infection to urinary tract in the future or total natural loss to their kidney function. As a result, this injury will hold substantial medical expenses.
Kidney InjuryLoss Of One Kidney£30,770 to £44,880Though the individual is likely to lose one kidney, no further damage will be inflicted to the other.
Brain DamageVery Severe£282,010 to £403,990The highest point of this bracket will include cases which reflect a serious inability to follow basic commands. The sufferer will fail to open their eyes and return to basic waking/sleeping patterns.
Brain DamageModerately Severe£219,070 to £282,010In short, the victim will be left seriously disabled. This will mean they are substantially dependent on others (including professional care). Both physical and psychological disabilities will be eligible for this bracket, including limb paralysis or cognitive impairment.
Brain DamageModerate£150,110 to £219,070A moderate to severe impairment of the brain will be reflected by a noticeable personality chance and implications on sight, speech and senses as a whole. The person will have no prospect of employment.

As you can see, certain injuries are worth more than others. Factors such as severity tend to affect how much you receive in compensation. The numbers shown above are based on court cases that have been successful in the past. However, every claims needs to be assessed individually before an accurate and suitable figure can be arrived at.

When suffering from medical negligence, such as in instances of nursing medication errors, you could also experience financial loss as a result of your injuries. For example, your income may suffer if you are left unable to work on a temporary or even permanent basis. There may also be medical costs to cover such as for prescription medication.

These costs may be reimbursed to you as part of a special damages payment if you have proof such as receipts. Get in touch today for more information on this, and subjects such as more examples of medication errors.

No Win No Fee Wrong Medication Negligence Claims

We offer to represent all potential clients on a No Win No Fee basis, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This means that your personal injury solicitor would work on your claim with requesting an upfront fee and if they are unsuccessful in securing a settlement for you, there would be no ‘success fee’ to pay for the legal services they provided.

However, if your claim is successful an agreed percentage as set out in your No Win No Fee agreement would be deducted from the amount you are awarded. There are no hidden costs or upfront fees associated with a No Win No Fee agreement.

If you have any questions about a No Win No Fee agreement, please call our advisers today.

How We Could Help Those Affected By Medical Negligence

The personal injury claims process can be both a long and daunting experience to manage by yourself, which is why many people seek legal representation. A personal injury lawyer could not only guide you through this process but also work hard to secure a level of medical negligence compensation you deserve.

Our panel of experts has up to thirty years’ experience in representing victims of third-party negligence and securing settlement amounts on their behalf. If you would like to hear more about how our team can help, please speak to one of our advisers today.

Contact Medical Negligence Assist

To begin your No Win No Fee personal injury claim, please consider the contact methods below:

  • Telephone: Call us today on 0800 652 3087 for a free, no-obligation consultation
  • Online: You can enquire online by clicking here
  • Call Back Form: If you would like us to call you back at a more suitable time, please fill out a form at the top of this page
  • Online Chat: You can speak with an online claims adviser through our online chat situated in the bottom left corner of this page

Medical Negligence Claim Resources

Birth Injury Claims
How much compensation could you be owed for an avoidable birth injury? Read this guide to find out more.

Needlestick Injury Claims
Were you made to suffer from hospital negligence? If so, you could be owed a settlement amount for your damages.

Claims Against The NHS
If you feel that you were made to suffer avoidable harm during your time at an NHS hospital, you could make a claim for compensation.

Medication Errors Policy
Information by the Black Country Partnership NHS about medication errors.

Preparation And Dispensing Errors Legislation
The Pharmacy Order 2018

Other Medical Negligence Claim Guides

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