Whilst many of these medication errors cause no or little harm, some errors leave patients with severe and permanent complications, such as organ damage or hearing loss and in some cases can cause the patient’s death. Research published the University of Manchester and the University of York in 2018 found that over 230 million medication errors take place in the NHS in England each year.
There are many ways in which medication errors can occur. For example:
- if a doctor prescribes you the wrong drug;
- if you are prescribed the correct drug but at an incorrect dosage;
- if you are prescribed a drug to which you are known to be allergic;
- if you are prescribed multiple medications that should not be taken together;
- if you are prescribed a drug that is unsuitable due to a pre-existing medical condition;
- if you are prescribed medication for too long;
- if you receive medication meant for somebody else;
- if you are not properly monitored for serious side effects of their medication;
- if your child is prescribed drugs that are only suitable for adults; or is prescribed a suitable drug but at an incorrect dose;
- if the correct medication is incorrectly administered. For example, if drugs meant to be injected into the muscle is given intravenously (administered into a vein);
- if medication is incorrectly dispensed or labelled by a pharmacist.
If a pharmacist, doctor or other medical professions makes an error when prescribing or dispensing your medication, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to make a claim for clinical negligence.
Can I bring a claim for gentamicin or antibiotic poisoning?
You may have a claim if you were prescribed gentamicin and have suffered from side effect such as kidney damage or hearing loss.
Can I bring a claim for benzodiazepine addiction or withdrawal?
We have experience of bringing claims against medical professionals who have mis-managed the prescription and withdrawal of benzodiazepines.
Can I bring a claim for someone who has died as a result of a medication error?
Yes, and we have a great deal of experience bringing claims for families who have lost someone as a result of medical negligence.
What is the process for making a claim for and how long will it take?
The first step would be to contact an expert and specialist medical negligence solicitor. They will help you to understand whether you have a claim, and start the investigations into what went wrong.
Some claims can be resolved within a few months; more complex claims may take several years to conclude. We will always progress cases as quickly as possible, and have an established track record of pursuing claims rigorously to an early conclusion. Regardless of the length of the case though, we will do what we can to secure interim payments to help with rehabilitation and any other necessary care you may require.
What compensation might I receive if my claim is successful?
As with any compensation claim, how much you are likely to receive will depend on your particular circumstances. Compensation is calculated based on any financial losses you have suffered as well as the nature and extent of the pain and suffering inflicted as a result of the negligence.
In a claim resulting from a medication error, financial losses might include:
- any time you had to take off work, or away from your business, to recover from the trauma of the medication error, and any time you may have to take off in the future for the treatment of side effects;
- any aids and equipment that you may require as a result of the medication error, such as hearing aids;
- any therapy sessions or psychological treatments that you may have had, or may wish to have, to help you address the trauma you have suffered;
- compensation for any care and assistance your family members or friends gave you as a result of the medication error;
- any adaptations required to your property as a result of the injuries sustained.
How long do I have to make a claim for compensation?
Limitation periods laid down in relation to making claims for compensation mean that you should start the process as soon as possible. Usually, you have three years from the date of injury or from the date you became aware of an injury.
There are different limitation periods for children, so please take a look at our guide on time limits to find out more.
How can I fund a claim?
Most of our cases are funded through Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), otherwise known as No Win No Fee agreements. This means that, should you choose to fund your claim this way, you’re not at financial risk should the claim be unsuccessful.