Examples of Prescription Errors

Welcome to our guide on prescription error examples. This article will explain how prescription errors can be made and how you could claim compensation if you’ve been negatively affected by medical negligence in this way. 

prescription error examples

Clinical negligence could have a severe negative impact on the victim. If you’ve been given the wrong prescription, your pre-existing symptoms could worsen, or you may even suffer a new illness or injury. To make a valid medical negligence claim, you must have been harmed in some way by the negligence of a medical professional or organisation. 

All medical professionals are expected to provide a minimum standard of care. If this standard of care is not provided, patients could come to harm. The General Medical Council outlines what a doctor’s duty of care is. If the medical professional adhered to their duty of care, and an issue still arose, you would be unlikely to receive compensation. 

Keep reading to find out more about prescription error examples. Alternatively, our team are available 24/7 to help you with any queries you may have. There are no obligations to start a claim if you get in touch, but if you do want to, our advisors can connect you with a solicitor from our panel to help you. 

Select A Section

  1. Prescription Error Examples
  2. Types Of Medication Errors
  3. How Prescription Errors Could Affect You
  4. Common Prescription Error Examples
  5. Calculating Damages For Prescription Error Examples
  6. Speak To A Prescription Error Claims Expert

Prescription Error Examples

According to the NHS, a medication error is a patient safety incident where there has been an error in preparing, dispensing, prescribing, administering, monitoring or providing advice on medicines. This article focuses on errors in the prescription of medication. 

A prescription error could occur in many medical environments. You could be prescribed the wrong medication by your GP, for example. Or, if you are in recovery in hospital after treatment, your doctor could potentially prescribe you the wrong dosage, causing you to experience an overdose

The effect that a medication error can have on your health could be twofold. If you’re prescribed medication other than the medication you need, this could make you ill. This is because some medications can have negative effects when taken by someone who doesn’t need them.

Furthermore, if a healthcare provider incorrectly prescribes you medication, it may be that you don’t get the medication you do need. This could result in your condition getting worse than it otherwise would.

Types Of Medication Errors

There are four broad types of medication errors. This section will look at some of these prescription error examples in more detail. 

Knowledge-Based Errors

These errors are caused by a lack of, or gaps in, knowledge. For example, a doctor could prescribe penicillin to a patient without first checking whether they are allergic. The patient could then have a severe allergic reaction.

Alternatively, they could prescribe two different kinds of medications that react badly with one another. Taking both kinds of medication at the same time could make you ill. 

Rule-Based Errors

These types of errors could be caused by failing to follow the rules around the prescription of medication. For example, some medications need to be administered in a specific way. If a doctor injects a medication into the wrong area of the body, this could cause unexpected side effects. 

Action-Based Errors

These are also known as “slips”. Action-based errors are where an error occurs because of something someone does or fails to do. For example, accidentally picking up the wrong medication from the shelf could be considered this kind of error. Slips in attention could cause action-based errors. 

This type of error also includes technical errors. This could include if a doctor writes illegibly and a pharmacist hands out the wrong prescription due to being unable to read the slip. 

Memory-Based Errors

These errors are when a medical professional has a lapse in memory. For example, they could potentially prescribe a medicine to a patient, forgetting they are allergic to it. Alternatively, they may prescribe them medication that they have already prescribed, resulting in the patient receiving a double dose. 

To find out more about prescription error examples, get in touch with our team of advisors today. 

How Prescription Errors Could Affect You

If you have experienced a prescription error like one of the ones listed in the previous section, this could cause various negative side effects. 

You could potentially suffer an adverse drug reaction. The NHS defines this as a response to a noxious medicinal product and has unintended effects resulting from medication errors.  Serious reactions to medication could include:

  • Fatal injuries
  • Disability
  • Incapacitation
  • Congenital abnormalities (for example, if you’re prescribed the wrong medication while you’re pregnant, it could affect your foetus’ development) 
  • Prolonged hospitalisation

If you are prescribed the wrong medication or prescribed medication in the wrong dose, it could potentially cause an allergic reaction or put you more at risk of drug misuse. It may exacerbate your pre-existing injury or illness or cause you to develop new symptoms. 

A medication error could potentially be the result of medical negligence. If you have been harmed by medical negligence and would like to see if you have grounds to claim, or for more prescription error examples, get in touch with us today. 

Common Prescription Error Examples 

This section looks at how common prescription errors are. 

In a 2002 study in UK hospitals, researchers found that out of 36,200 medication orders, 1.5% had a prescribing error of some kind. Most of these errors were related to the dosage. 0.4% of these errors could have had potentially serious consequences. 

In a 2006 survey within the same journal found that, of 40,000 medication errors amongst 173 hospital trusts in England and Wales, 15% of the errors caused slight harm, and 5% caused moderate or severe harm. 

prescription error examples

The graph above shows how many injuries caused by medication errors were the basis of claims between 2013/14 and 2018/19. This is based on a Freedom of Information Request to the NHS. 

If a prescription error resulting from negligence has harmed you, you could potentially claim compensation. Get in touch with our advisors today to find out more. 

Calculating Damages For Prescription Error Examples

This section includes a table of potential compensation amounts you could receive in a prescription error claim. These compensation brackets are listed in the Judicial College Guidelines. However, these numbers are not a guarantee for your claim, as they are calculated based on previous compensation payouts. Your individual circumstances will be taken into consideration. 

The figures shown in this table relate to how much compensation you may receive in general damages. This compensates you for the suffering or pain caused by medical negligence. You may also claim special damages if you have suffered specific financial losses as a result of the negligence. 

To assess how much you could receive in general damages, you will attend a medical appointment. The value of the general damages head of your claim is generally dependent on the severity of your injuries and how they may continue to affect your future. Below, we have included a table showing some excerpts from the Judicial College Guidelines. 

Injury Severity Amount Notes
Sight/Hearing (A) Around £379,100 Total deafness and blindness.
Sight (B) Around £252,180 Total blindness.
Epilepsy (C) £9,990 to £24,680 One or two discrete epileptic episodes or a temporary resurgence or epilepsy. No risk of further recurrence.
Non-Traumatic Injury (i) £36,060 to £49,270 Severe toxicosis causing acute pain, vomiting and fever. Hospital admission will be required for some days or weeks.
Non-Traumatic Injury (iv) £860 to £3,710 Disabling pain, cramps and diarrhoea that lasts for some days or weeks.
Kidney (B) Up to £60,050 Significant risk of future urinary tract infection or total loss of natural kidney function.
Psychiatric Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460 Significant issues with daily activities, relationships, work and education but the prognosis may be optimistic.
PTSD Less Severe £3,710 to £7,680 Claimant will have made an almost full recovery within 1-2 years. Only minor symptoms will persist past this point.
Lung Disease (D) £29,380 to £51,460 An inhaler will be necessary frequently to help with breathing difficulties. Claimant will be unable tolerate smoky environments and there will be significant negative effects on social and working life. The prognosis will be uncertain.
Asthma (B) £24,680 to £40,370 The asthma will be chronic, and will cause breathing difficulties. An inhaler will be needed, and employment prospects may be restricted.

Some examples of what you could claim in special damages include:

  • Medical treatments not covered by the NHS
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
  • Lost earnings
  • The cost of adaptions to the home, if applicable
  • The cost of independence supports, if needed

One of the benefits of special damages payments is that you can claim compensation for the financial loss you may experience in the future as a result of your medical negligence. This could include a continued loss of earnings if you’re unable to return to work because of your injuries

Speak To A Prescription Error Claims Expert

Suppose you’ve been harmed by medical negligence, such as one of the prescription error examples in this article. In that case, you may want to consider hiring legal representation to help you with a claim. However, you might be wondering how much a solicitor will charge you for their work.

If a solicitor offers you a No Win No Fee agreement as a way to fund their services, you may end up not having to pay them whatsoever if your claim is unsuccessful. You also won’t need to pay them any ongoing or upfront fees regarding your claim. 

You may have heard of success fees. Your solicitor will deduct this fee from your compensation amount in the event your claim succeeds. This is legally capped, meaning your solicitor is unable to overcharge you for their work, and you get to keep the majority of your compensation. 

To find out more about how No Win No Fee could work for you, why not get in touch with our advisors today? They can offer free legal advice and could also connect you with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel if they think your claim has a good chance of success. 

Learn About No Win No Fee Medication Error Claims

Thank you for reading our guide about prescription error examples. We hope it answered any questions you may have had. For further guidance, please see below. 

What Is The Time Limit For a Medical Negligence Claim? – Find out how long you have to claim compensation for medical negligence. 

How Long Does a Medical Negligence Case Take? – This guide explains what could affect the length of a medical negligence claim. 

Can I Sue My Doctor For Negligence? – If you want to sue your doctor for negligence, you can find out how from our article. 

NHS Resolution Statistics – NHS Resolution is the legal branch of the NHS that handles claims. Through this link, you can find statistics on NHS medical negligence claims. 

NHS Prescription Charges – Find out how much your NHS prescription could cost. 

Find a Pharmacy – An NHS search tool for finding the closest pharmacy to you. 

Thank you for reading our guide on prescription error examples. 

Guide by AO

Publisher ET