By Marlon Marquardt. Last Updated 13th January 2023. Welcome to our guide on wrong patient medication errors. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the processes involved in making a claim if medical negligence has led to you receiving the wrong medication and you’ve been harmed as a result.
A healthcare professional is someone who has had medical training. So, this can include roles such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and surgeons. All healthcare professionals have a duty of care towards those who they provide care for. They must provide a minimum standard of care.
When a healthcare professional administers care of an unacceptable level, this is an example of medical or clinical negligence. If you’ve experienced medical negligence and it’s caused you harm, you could be entitled to claim.
Get in touch with our advisors today and we can give you more specific advice. Read on for more information.
Select A Section
- What Are Wrong Patient Medication Errors?
- Why Do Wrong Patient Medication Errors Happen?
- What Can You Do If You Were Given The Wrong Medication?
- Calculating Damages For Wrong Patient Medication Errors
- Talk To A Clinical Negligence Claim Specialist
Medication is an important aspect of medical care. It’s important that patients with certain conditions are given the correct medication at the right dose. If they are not, then their condition could become worse.
When medication is given to the wrong patient, this can have an adverse effect on their health. The person whose medication was given to someone else might have their condition worsen because it is not being treated. Furthermore, the patient who receives the incorrect medication might have an adverse reaction to the drug.
Wrong patient medication errors can differ slightly from being prescribed the wrong medication. In the former, the medication may be correctly prescribed but administered to the wrong patient. However, if it occurs because of a breach of duty of care, either of these could be an example of medical negligence.
Serious Vs Non-Serious Medication Errors
Every incident of medical negligence is different. Some will have more severe consequences than others. In some cases, patients may be fortunate enough to not have their health affected by the error at all. In these cases, they would be unable to make a medical negligence claim.
Other wrong patient medication errors could result in only minor symptoms such as nausea, or mild discomfort and pain. However, you might still be owed compensation for any negative effect on your health.
Some circumstances involving medication errors can lead to much more serious symptoms and impacts on a patient’s health. For example, an individual’s organs can be badly damaged, sometimes permanently.
Death may even be a possibility in some extreme circumstances. A loved one may still be able to make a fatal claim on behalf of the deceased.
Speak with a member of our team today for more information on making a compensation claim for harm caused by medical negligence.
There are a number of different reasons why a wrong patient medication error might occur.
- Carelessness – those administering the drug may not have been paying close enough attention. For example, they might mix up two patients in a hospital with similar names.
- Administrative error – to illustrate, the medication error may have been due to it being mislabelled, or paperwork/prescription for a certain patient may have been misplaced or mixed up.
Wrong Medication Error Statistics
Medical negligence can take place in both National Health Service (NHS) facilities as well as privately-owned ones.
Figures from the 2020/21 NHS Resolution Annual Report show how much the NHS spent over this period on costs associated with medical negligence claims. This includes compensation paid as well as legal fees. All NHS facilities are included in this figure, including hospitals, dentists, and GP surgeries.
Whilst not all of the £2,209 million will have been in association with claims for wrong patient medication errors, the graph below does serve well as an illustration regarding how much is spent on NHS medical negligence costs in general.
If you suspect that you have been given the wrong medication, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention so that any adverse side effects that arise can be carefully monitored and treated if required.
Then, you can start taking steps towards potentially making a claim. You can make a complaint directly to the facility you were treated at. They may be able to explain why this has happened, and how they’re taking steps for it not to happen again.
It’s possible that at this stage, they could offer you compensation if they admit fault. However, if you accept this compensation, you cannot then go on to make a claim afterwards.
If you would like to make a claim, you could start by collecting evidence. For instance, you might want to collect your prescriptions and medical records to show what medication you should have been given and when. You could also keep a record of any negative health effects that you’ve experienced as a result.
For more information on how claims for wrong patient medication errors can be supported with evidence, speak with a member of our team today.
Patient Given Wrong Medication – Claim Time Limits
Medical negligence claims have time limits in which they must be started.
While your specific time limit will depend on your circumstances and the nature of the harm you suffered, the general time limit in place is three years from when the act of negligence took place.
However, an exception can be made if you did not gain knowledge that the medication you were taking was causing you harm until after you started taking it. In some cases, for example, a person may not realise they had the wrong prescription for three or four weeks. . In such instances, you can argue that the claim time limit begins on the date you gained knowledge that the wrong medication was causing you harm.
Negligence claims involving minors have different time limits. If you are claiming on behalf of a patient who was given the wrong medication while they were under the age of 18, you can start a claim for them at any point before they turn 18. You will need to be appointed as a litigation friend to act as their official representative.
If a claim has not been made in the time before the minor in question turns 18, they will have a time limit of 3 years to start a claim, ending on their 21st birthday.
If the wrong medication was given to a patient who lacks the mental capacity to start a claim – or a claimant at any point loses their mental capacity – then their time limit will be suspended until they regain capacity. A litigation friend can similarly act on their behalf.
Please reach out to one of our advisers for any more questions you have about wrong patient medication claims or to check if you’re within the time to make a claim. The advice we offer is free and carries no obligation to make a claim.
Injuries caused by the wrong medication can be mental and physical. You can be compensated for both. The amount that’s awarded for your psychological and physical injuries is called general damages. Legal professionals will calculate this with the assistance of a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). You will also be invited to an independent medical appointment as part of your claim, and the report generated from this assessment will be used to value your settlement.
The JCG is a list of injuries and guideline compensation brackets for general damages. The range of figures alongside each entry is based on what has been awarded for similar injuries in past cases. Considerations like how severe the injury is will affect the value of your claim.
Below, we’ve included some example JCG entries so you can gain a better understanding of how much you could be awarded.
|(b) Complete blindness
|In the region of
|(a) Serious – when both kidneys are lost or permanently damaged
|(b) Significant risk of loss of function or urinary tract infections in the future
|Up to £63,980
|(c) When just one kidney is lost, but the other remains undamaged
|(b) Natural function is completely lost with the requirement of colostomy
|(b) Function and control is completely lost
|(b) Complete deafness
|£85,170 to £102,890
|(c) Immediate unconsciousness follows the incident, and death takes place after 6 weeks
|£3,760 to £4,390
|Digestive System Illness
|(b)(ii) Discomfort of a significant nature with symptoms such as altered bowel function and fatigue
|(E) When the patient thinks they’re about to die, or have the length of their life made shorter
You may also be eligible to receive a figure known as special damages. This sum is calculated to reimburse you for the total of any expenditures that would not have been incurred had it not been for your injury or illness that was caused by medical negligence.
Loss of earnings is a good example of this if you have missed time at work. You could also claim back the cost of any travel to and from medical appointments, or the cost of treatment that you cannot get on the NHS.
For more information on general and special damages payments, or the circumstances in which claims for wrong patient medication errors might be justified, get in touch with our advisors today.
The solicitors on our panel operate on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that all of their clients aren’t required to pay them unless the claim is a success and compensation is awarded. If the claim fails, there is no payment required to your lawyer.
If the claim is successful, then the solicitor is paid in the form of a small percentage that’s taken from the settlement. There are no upfront costs or additional hidden fees. Working under a No Win No Fee agreement can help reduce the financial risk to yourself, as you won’t find yourself in a position where you’re stuck with large legal fees with no guarantee of compensation.
Get in touch today to get started, or to find out more about No Win No Fee arrangements or claims for wrong patient medication errors in general.
Clinical And Medical Negligence Resources
- The Medicines Act 1968 outlines which medications should be prescription only, amongst other things.
- Find out if a litigation friend could make a claim on your behalf.
- You can find a pharmacy on the NHS website.
- Find out how long a medical negligence claim can take.
- Read about suing your doctor for medical negligence.
- Time limits for medical negligence claims.
Thanks for reading our guide on wrong patient medication errors.
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