Medication Errors Claims

Prescription Errors and Medical Negligence

If you, or your loved one, has suffered because of a prescription error, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a solicitor today. If there has been a case of medical negligence, you will be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Prescription errors

A prescribing error is when the patient is given the wrong medication. Most commonly prescription errors are made by GPs, but they may also be made by pharmacists or hospital doctors.

A prescribing error may occur because of human mistake, meaning the clinician accidentally dispenses the wrong type of tablets/the wrong dose.

How can we help?

Alternatively the clinician may purposefully prescribe a drug that is in fact harmful to a patient. A drug might be harmful because the patient:

  • Is known to be allergic to it
  • Has taken it for too long
  • Is taking other medication which contra-indicates the use of certain drugs
  • Is prescribed too large or too small a dose

Prescribing the correct dose is a particularly prevalent problem as it often depends upon medical practitioners monitoring a patient with routine tests. A GP may fail to perform these tests or fail to correctly analyse the results, meaning the dosage is not altered according to a patient’s condition.

Prescription error complications

A prescription error can cause significant complications for the patient concerned. For example, if a patient is allergic to a certain drug, he/she may have an extreme adverse reaction. Or if a drug is prescribed in excess, it can cause internal bleeding or even organ failure.

Prescription error fatalities

In some tragic cases, a prescription error can result in a fatality.

Medication errors and never events

Some medication errors are so severe that they are deemed to be ‘never events’. NHS England defines a never event as ‘a serious, largely preventable patient safety incident that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.’

Some of never events are as follows:

  1. Wrongly prepared high-risk injectable medication
  2. Maladministration of a potassium-containing solution
  3. Wrong route administration of chemotherapy
  4. Wrong route administration of oral/enteral treatment
  5. Intravenous administration of epidural medication
  6. Maladministration of insulin
  7. Overdose of midazolam during conscious sedation
  8. Opioid overdose of an opioid-nave patient
  9. Inappropriate administration of daily oral methotrexate

Prescribing errors and medical negligence

If a prescription error is made and a patient is harmed, there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

This is because medical practitioners have a legal duty to provide all patients with an acceptable standard of care. What is deemed ‘acceptable’ must be judged against what a reasonable body of medical men find acceptable.

For instance, if a GP prescribes a kidney failure patient with a type of antibiotic that is not recommended in patients with reduced kidney function, it must be asked whether a reasonable body of GPs would take the same course of action.

If it is found that a reasonable body of GPs would NOT take the same course of action, there will be a breach of duty. This means that the medical practitioner/organisation has provided a substandard level of care.

Should a breach of duty cause a patient to suffer injury, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. If the patient has died from their injuries, the family will be able to pursue a claim on behalf of the estate.

Can I claim?

To find out if you can claim compensation for a prescribing error, you need to talk to a solicitor who specialises in clinical negligence claims (otherwise known as medical negligence claims).

It is important not to delay when seeking legal advice because there is a time limit on clinical negligence claims. They must be brought before the courts within three years of the incident. If this time limit is missed, it will not be possible to make a claim, even if you have a very strong case.

When you contact a solicitor, you will need to explain the care provided and the injuries that were sustained. After getting all the information from you, a solicitor will be able to advise you upon your options.

If you are told that you have been the innocent victim of medical negligence, you will be able to pursue legal action. This will ensure that you are properly compensated for the damages you have suffered.

Medical negligence compensation

The amount of compensation you are awarded in a prescribing error claim will depend upon the circumstances. You will be given a sum for the pain and suffering endured (including both physical and emotional), and a sum for the financial loss incurred. Therefore, if you have experienced a significant loss of earnings (which may be past and future earnings), this will be reflected in your compensation settlement.

Please contact us now if you would like to speak to a solicitor in confidence about making a claim for compensation.