If your GP, nurse, consultant, pharmacist or other health professional has made a serious mistake with your medication or prescription, the consequences could be wide-ranging.
Research from the Universities of Sheffield, York and Manchester reveals that 237 million medication errors are made in the NHS, just in England alone. If a negligent medical professional, either in the NHS or a private facility, made a medication or prescription drug error you may be eligible to claim compensation for the harm that you suffered.
At Devonshires Claims, our solicitors have over 20 years’ experience supporting victims of medical negligence. We have a track record of winning the maximum compensation available for our clients. Whether your claim is associated with medication errors or any other medical negligence matter, we know what is necessary for a claim to be successful and we will support you with our No Win – No Fee’ agreement. For more information or to request your free no-obligation case evaluation please contact us on 0333 577 9444, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form.
Medication or prescription drug errors could include:
- Being given the wrong medication or drug
- Being prescribed the wrong dose for your age or health condition e.g. diabetic insulin dosing errors
- Being prescribed a medication which was not suitable for pregnant women or women of child-bearing age.
- Having a drug administered incorrectly eg. into a muscle rather than intravenously
- Having the wrong drug administered
- Anaesthetic-awareness – where a patient is aware of their surroundings during an operation. This would be caused by errors made by the anaesthetist when administering the anaesthetic
- Failure to review or monitor patients on medication eg a medical professional may have failed to monitor the condition and progress of a patient who has been having repeat prescriptions.
Our experienced medical negligence solicitors will review your drug error case and determine if you have the grounds for a compensation claim. We can also advise on the potential compensation available. Devonshire Claims provides a ‘No Win – No Fee’ agreement for victims of medical negligence. This means that there are no upfront costs to start your claim and no costs to pay if your claim is unsuccessful*. Contact our claims experts today to start your free no-obligation case evaluation. Call us on 0333 577 9444, email email@example.com or complete our online form.
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In order to succeed with your medication error claim it must be shown that:
- A medical professional was negligent in prescribing (or failing to prescribe) a medication
- The negligence directly resulted in harm or injury to the patient.
The negligence of a medical professional such as GP, nurse, pharmacist, consultant could potentially result in the following medication or prescription drug errors:
- Prescribing medication that is inappropriate or ineffective for the patient’s condition
- Prescribing medication in the wrong dosage
- Prescribing anticoagulants at the wrong dosage or failing to monitor a patient’s condition or prescription eg. Warfarin/ Heparin dosage mistakes leading to pulmonary embolism.
- Unsafely prescribing opioid medication eg. diamorphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone and methadone. Over 400 patients died as a result of opioid prescription errors made at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
- Insulin errors associated with diabetic patients during a hospital stay.
- Oxygen administered at an inappropriate concentration could have serious and potentially fatal consequences.
- Dosage errors associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs often result in Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) due to internal bleeding, kidney damage, stroke and heart attack.
- Failure to monitor patients who received drugs requiring regular blood test monitoring eg. angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, clozapine, digoxin, lithium, gentamicin, loop diuretics.
- Writing a prescription that can be misinterpreted, e.g. illegibility, that results in the wrong medication being issued
- Pharmacy dispensing errors that result in a patient receiving the wrong medication, wrong dose or wrong instructions for use
- Incorrect labels used on medication
- Delays in prescribing or administering medication
- Administering medication incorrectly, e.g. giving a patient the wrong dose, administering the medication at the wrong frequency or using the wrong method
- Failing to account for a patient’s existing medication when prescribing a new medication, leading to harmful drug interactions
- Failing to consider the impact of a drug on a pregnant woman or an unborn child, eg Sodium Valproate being prescribed to pregnant women or women of childbearing age – leading to birth defects.
- Failing to consider issues such as allergies when prescribing medications eg. severe allergic reactions to penicillin
- Failing to sufficiently monitor medication side effects
- Failing to provide routine reviews to patients who have been receiving repeat prescriptions.
If you experienced any of these medication or prescription errors you could be entitled to claim compensation for the harm you sustained.
Medication or prescription drug negligence claims are often complex and require thorough investigation as well as an understanding of human physiology. It is therefore important to seek assistance from a legal expert with experience in investigating drug errors.
The process of bringing a medication error claim, or any kind of medical negligence claim, involves the following steps:
- Building the case: this includes obtaining a copy of medical records and collecting evidence, including information from witnesses and consulting independent medical experts.
- Contacting the healthcare provider (the defendant) with the details of your claim
- Ensuring that the defendant responds to your claim in a timely manner
- Assessing the defendant’s response and advising you of your options
- Submitting the claim to court and attending the court hearing when necessary
The experienced medical negligence solicitors at Devonshires Claims will guide you through the entire process.
We strongly believe that cost should not be an issue for patients who have experienced mistakes with their medication.
Devonshires Claims provides a free case evaluation to determine if you have the grounds for a successful medication negligence compensation claim. If we feel that your negligence case has a good chance of success we will represent you and work hard to secure you justice and the maximum compensation.
We offer our clients a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is commonly known as a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. With this agreement, there are no upfront costs to start your claim and nothing to pay if you are not successful*.
If your claim is successful, you will only pay a percentage of the damages you receive**.
Another option for funding your claim is legal expenses insurance. Many home insurance policies offer this as an optional extra, and some bank accounts and credit cards also offer it. If you have access to legal expenses insurance, it is a good option to consider.
Our experts will discuss the options available to you.
As with all medical negligence claims, there is generally a three year limit. This means that you must bring your claim within three years of the negligent incident or drug / medication error.
There are some exceptions to this general rule, so it is a good idea to speak to a medical negligence claims specialist even if more time has passed, as you may still be eligible to make a claim.
The circumstances in which an exception to the time limit may apply include:
- You only find out about the error later—in this case, the three-year time limit may begin from the point at which you become aware or are made aware of the negligence.
- The claimant is under eighteen—in this case, parents or guardians will have until the child’s 18th birthday to make a claim on their behalf. After their 18th birthday, they will then have three years to make a claim on their own behalf.
- The claimant lacks the mental capacity—A child or adult without capacity to run a claim, may not have a time limit within which to bring a claim. We recommend that you contact Devonshires Claims if you have any queries involving those who lack capacity and our specialist solicitors will be able to assist.
- The claim is being brought because someone died. In this case, the dependants or representative of their estate will generally have three years from the date of death to make a claim.
The amount of compensation you can claim for medication mistakes depends on:
- the seriousness of the resulting injury and how it impacts your life and
- any financial losses or costs incurred.
There are two categories of compensation (damages) that you can claim for negligent medication errors: general damages and special damages.
Awards for general damages are determined by the Judicial College and are published in their guidelines.
General damages: These include compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the medical negligence.
Special damages: These include any financial losses incurred due to medical negligence such as:
- Medical treatment – including paying for further remedial treatment following the drug error
- Current and future care and rehabilitation costs
- Travel costs – current and future, to and from medical facilities
- Lost earnings including lost wages and loss of future wages, benefits and promotion opportunities.
- Home adaptations and aids eg. wheelchairs, home modifications required due to mobility issues.
Between 2017-18 NHS Resolution closed 35 medication error medical negligence claims. The compensation awarded was just under £4million.
Your solicitor will review your case thoroughly to determine the damages you may be eligible for.
An interim payment may be available if you have suffered financial hardship as a result of the negligence. This is paid before your claim is settled and will be deducted from your final compensation award.
Often medical negligence claims, including medication error claims, can be resolved outside of court. This will occur either through a negotiation or an alternative dispute resolution. Sometimes court proceedings will be initiated but a settlement will be reached before a trial begins.
Avoiding court proceedings, if possible, helps you avoid the stress of a court hearing, and is a faster way to resolve a claim. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, we will provide the best representation in court to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Contact our claims experts today
For more information about making a medication error claim, and medical negligence claims in general, please get in touch with us today. We want only the best outcome for you and your family and will work hard to help you receive the maximum compensation for the harm you received and to help you rebuild your health.