By Megan Webster. Last Updated 13th January 2023. Prescription errors happen and being prescribed incorrect medication could be a very traumatic experience. This could have happened due to the error of a pharmacist, dentist, doctor, nurse or any healthcare provider.
If a negligent, inaccurate prescription were to cause you injury, then you could be entitled to compensation. This all depends on your injuries or how this has affected you mentally.
In this article, we will talk about the types of errors that are made, how these could cause harm, where they can happen, and explain when you can sue. We also have a table illustrating potential compensation for prescription errors and we guide you through how to start a No Win No Fee prescription error claim today.
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Select A Section
- Types Of Prescription Errors
- How Prescription Errors Could Cause Harm
- Where Can A Prescription Error Happen?
- Can I Sue For Wrong Prescription Errors?
- Calculating Compensation For Prescription Errors
- Start Your No Win No Fee Prescription Error Claim Today
Prescription errors caused by medical negligence could happen in a number of ways. For example:
- Prescribing a dosage that is too high or too low despite a clear indication that this could harm the patient.
- The medical practitioner didn’t check the patient’s records and prescribed medication that the patient was allergic to, leading to a reaction.
- A hospital or nursing home administering the wrong prescription medication to a patient/resident because they failed to check the individual’s medical notes
- The illness or injury indicates that a particular medication shouldn’t be used, but the healthcare professional prescribes it regardless.
- A pharmacist is given the correct prescription but doesn’t provide it as directed and doesn’t have an appropriate reason for this.
- Repeating a prescription without checking whether the patient needs a check-up before it can be provided, and them suffering harm as a result.
The Medicines Act 1968 covers dispensing errors.
If you’re unsure whether the prescription errors that caused you to suffer were an example of medical negligence, why not get in touch today?
Causes of prescription errors, in general, include lack of knowledge, prescribing the wrong dosage or putting down the wrong drug name or abbreviation.
Medical negligence, in some cases, could lead patients to suffer significant physical injuries or affect their mental health. The harm the patient experiences will depend on factors such as their condition and what type of prescription error occurred.
For example, patients could suffer adverse reactions to prescription medication, including allergic reactions, if the medical professional doesn’t ensure the medication is safe for them.
Prescription errors can cause their original medical problem to get worse or could create a new unnecessary illness or injury.
Being prescribed the wrong medication is not your fault. If a medical professional’s negligence causes a prescription error that leads you to suffer unnecessary harm, you could claim. Call our team of advisors today and they can give free legal advice. They could even connect you to our panel of solicitors if you have a strong claim.
When medical professionals or pharmacy dispensers issue incorrect medication to patients, these mistakes are called prescription errors. This could happen because the doctor has chosen the wrong treatment, there’s an issue with the writing process of a prescription or because a pharmacist picks up an incorrect drug.
Prescription errors could happen at a:
- Dental surgery
- GP surgery
- Nursing Home
All healthcare providers have a duty of care towards their patients. Medical professionals should not provide care that is below the minimum standard. If they did, for example, they made unreasonable prescription errors causing unnecessary harm to their patient, then they would be at fault.
Medication Errors In Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are required to report certain safety incidents to the Care Quality Commission. If there are residents that are unwell as a result of prescription errors, medical assistance should be sought straight away. Residents at nursing homes can be at particular risk from medication errors. Contributing factors to these errors could include:
- Medical professionals who do not know the residents and lack information when prescribing.
- Staff’s high workload and lack of training.
- Lack of communication and teamwork between the nursing home, pharmacy and GP.
- Incorrect medical records.
Prescription Errors In Hospital
A prescription error can come from the dispenser or pharmacist who receives the form from the medical professional. Dispensing errors include:
- Mixing up prescriptions.
- Labelling medication incorrectly.
- Not keeping records up to date.
- Failing to question a prescription that they should be aware would be unfit or harmful for the patient
Prescription Errors In Pharmacies
A prescription error can come from the dispenser or pharmacist who receives the form from the patient. Common dispensing errors include:
- Mixing up prescriptions.
- Labelling medication Incorrectly.
- Not keeping records up to date.
- Not checking out suppliers who may be supplying fake medication
- Failing to question a prescription, believed to be unfit or harmful for the patient
These circumstances would be the neglect of the company that dispensed their medication.
Wondering if you can sue for a prescription error? The answer depends on whether the following are true:
- The pharmacist or doctor owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty of care
- This caused unnecessary new harm or a worsening of your illness or injury
Not all prescription errors lead to medical negligence claims. For example, if it didn’t lead to you suffering unnecessary harm, you wouldn’t be able to claim.
However, you could sue your doctor or pharmacist if you have suffered harm due to medical negligence. Proving that they were at fault can sometimes be difficult.
If you’re unsure as to whether you could sue, why not reach out to our advisors for free legal advice?
Prescription Claims – Time Limits
If you are making a medical negligence claim for a prescription error, you may wonder, ‘What are the prescription claims time limits?’.
Generally, the time limit for making a claim is 3 years from the date you were harmed due to medical negligence.
However, there are certain exceptions to this 3-year time limit. These are:
- Minors – If your child was harmed due to medical negligence, they will have 3 years to make a claim once they turn 18. Before this, the time limit is suspended, and a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. A litigation friend is appointed by the court and could be a parent, solicitor, sibling etc.
- Someone who lacks the mental capacity – If someone lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves, a litigation friend could make one on their behalf. Alternatively, if they regain the mental capacity to make a claim on their own, they will have 3 years once they regain this capacity.
Contact one of our advisors today if you have any questions or concerns regarding the time limits for prescription claims.
It would be difficult to foresee the precise amount of compensation you could receive for a prescription error without having your claim assessed first. Each medical negligence claim would be calculated independently.
There would be two types of possible compensation awards:
- General damages would compensate you for any physical or mental injuries you have had to bear due to medical negligence.
- Special Damages would compensate you for any financial loss caused by the incident. This could be, for example, a loss of money due to taking time off work or expenses you have had to pay out, such as medical or travel expenses. You could use prescriptions, payslips or bank statements (for example) to prove these losses.
The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a publication that solicitors use when valuing general damages. It shows various injuries with compensation awards alongside them.
If you are wanting a more clear view of what your injuries could potentially be worth please see the compensation table below.
|Permanent damage or loss of both kidneys
|£169,400 to £210,400
|Total loss of natural function and dependence on colostomy, depending on age.
|Up to £150,110
|Total Deafness and Loss of Speech
|A rubella infection that causes deafness at an early age and affects the development of normal speech.
|£109,650 to £140,660
|Complete loss of control and function of the bladder.
|Up to £140,660
|Established Petit Mal
|Various factors will be taken into consideration when awarding compensation, such as the prognosis and whether the attacks can be controlled with medication.
|£54,830 to £131,370
|The person will significantly suffer with coping with various aspects of daily and working life, with a poor prognosis.
|£54,830 to £115,730
|Acute pain, vomiting and a fever caused by severe toxicosis.
|£38,430 to £52,500
|For a few days or weeks the person will suffer with diarrhoea, cramps and varying degrees of disabling pain.
|£910 to £3,950
|The spleen has been lost which poses a continuing risk of internal infections with the immune system damaged.
|£20,800 to £26,290
|Injuries Affecting Sight
|Minor impairment of vision in one or both eyes that is permanent. There may also be some double vision with a sensitivity to bright lights.
|£9,110 to £20,980
If your injuries are not shown in the table above, you could contact one of our advisors who could value your claim for free.
A medical assessment would be part of the claims process. The independent healthcare professional would make a report after checking your injuries. The report’s purpose is to establish:
- Whether the injuries are consistent with those that could be caused or worsened by the incident.
- How severe the injuries are.
It’s not necessary for you to use the services of a solicitor to claim. However, if you do, they could use the medical report to value your injuries. They could also use it as evidence.
Our panel of solicitors offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning you have no upfront or ongoing solicitor’s fee to pay. If your case were to lose, you wouldn’t have any solicitor’s fee to pay. If your case were to win, you would pay a success fee. This success fee is capped by law.
See if you can start your claim today by contacting one of our advisors who will explain how to make a claim.
Medical And Claims Resources
This article will give you a clear understanding of the medical assessment as part of the claims process
A guide that will explain how you could claim for psychological damages
An explanation about accidental death claims
We hope this guide on prescription errors has helped. If you need anything more, get in touch with our advisors.
Article by AA