According to the British Medical Journal, a staggering 237 million medication mistakes are made in England every year with 1 in 5 of those being medication errors happening in hospitals. Have you or a family member been impacted by an issue like this? Were you or a loved one administered the wrong drug or given an incorrect procedure that made you sick?
This article explains who can claim for prescription errors in hospital. Whether you are a patient, family member, or guardian, we discuss how you could initiate a medical negligence claim against the NHS for compensation.
At Advice.co.uk, we can help you connect with medical negligence solicitors today. They could take up your case under a No Win No Fee agreement at no initial cost to you. By explaining the process and being at your side throughout, they can ensure you are awarded the correct amount of compensation after prescription errors in a hospital made you sick. Simply:
- Call our team for help right now on 0161 696 9685
- Email us or use the online contact at Advice.co.uk
- Alternatively, the ‘live support’ option can offer immediate contact
Select A Section
- What Are Prescription Errors In Hospitals?
- Who Could Claim On Your Behalf?
- Who Do I Sue For Prescription Errors In Hospitals?
- The Prescription Error In A Hospital Must Have Happened In The Last Three Years
- What Can You Claim For Prescription Errors In Hospitals?
- Contact A Prescription Error Solicitor
A prescription error definition is any clinical mistake on behalf of the medical professional that meant there was an error with the prescribing, dispensing or administering of medication. Prescription errors or medication mistakes can cause minor injuries if any at all. However, on the flip side, some errors can be so severe they cause life-changing injuries or even death.
Prescription errors in hospitals can affect anyone who is admitted to care and requires medication as part of their treatment if medical professionals deviate from the required standards. Therefore it can happen:
- At the point of admission to the hospital
- During emergency treatment
- Or as part of ongoing therapeutics and care in hospital
- Upon discharge
NHS England has procedures in place to report and limit the number of prescription errors. Also, the Yellow Card system enables patients to take control and be as clear as possible about allergies or issues they may have with certain medications.
Despite these safeguards, a potential prescription error in hospital might involve:
- A hospital pharmacist, nurse, doctor, or surgeon failing to consult patient notes properly
- Mixing prescriptions up in the hospital pharmacy
- Administering medication to the wrong patient
- Giving the wrong dosage or failing to monitor the appropriateness of future prescription drugs
- Substituting medications or prescriptions
Fatigue, lack of training, or staff shortages can all create a frenetic hospital environment where medication mistakes such as this could possibly occur. Issues must be reported to the Care Quality Commission which upholds expected standards across this sector.
Obviously, people who are unwell are not always able to monitor their own medication or raise a concern if they start to feel ill. Furthermore, they may not be able to discern their actual illness from the side effects of an incorrect prescription.
In situations such as this, it is possible for a family member to either complain to the NHS on their behalf or start a claim for compensation. It is also possible to do both.
Clinical or medical negligence can also impact minors or the elderly. The consequences of prescription errors in hospital could leave that person without the mental capacity to represent their own best interests.
With this in mind, a ‘litigation friend’ is a role others with the patient’s best interests at heart can assume. It requires them to perform all the tasks of a medical negligence claim on their behalf. Speak to our team now about how to start a medical negligence claim against a hospital on behalf of a loved one.
Not all prescription errors will mean a patient is eligible to make a medical negligence claim. In order to be able to make a valid medical negligence claim, you first must prove you were owed a duty of care. If a doctor agrees to treat you they are automatically assuming responsibility for your health and therefore owe a duty of care. This duty will need to have been breached. As a consequence of this negligence, you will have suffered ill health.
Who is liable if a medication error occurs in a hospital and how do hospitals deal with medication errors? As medication errors can happen at different stages of treatment who is liable would depend on when the error happened.
- A doctor could be liable if they through negligence prescribe the incorrect medicine.
- Nurses if they fail to follow professional standards when administrating medicine could be deemed liable, Or
- Pharmacists, if they dispensed the incorrect medicine due to missing up 2 patients’ treatment.
Pharmacists (including hospital ones) have a responsibility to ensure prescriptions are correctly dispensed according to instruction. Care must be given concerning the strength or dosage of a medication and there should always be accurate instructions on when it should be taken.
When pursuing a claim for a medication error this may not always be against the NHS. It could be against a private healthcare facility or a private company.
It’s important to note that there are time limits to starting a medical negligence claim. Ordinarily, it is 3 years from the date of the medical negligence or the date that you first became aware that something was wrong (date of knowledge).
Under the Limitation Act 1980, there are exceptions to this period if the injuries happen to a minor. In cases such as this, the three-year period can commence from the date of their 18th birthday, giving them until age 21 to start a claim.
In the meantime, a litigation friend can be appointed to act on the minor’s behalf and make the claim before they turn 18. This is also true for those who suffer from diminished mental capacity.
If you make a successful medical negligence claim after a prescription error in hospital that has left you with health and financial damage, it is possible to calculate a compensation request that reflects both, general damages and special damages.
Using the findings of an independent medical assessment (which a medical negligence solicitor can help arrange for you) and in conjunction with the guidelines from the Judicial College a compensation amount will be calculated
The Judicial College Guidelines (as shown in our table) are used to assess the impact of:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Impact on personal relationships
- Damage to amenity or quality of life
|JC Guideline award
|£5,500 to £17,900
|mental health issues that improve by the time of trial
|up to £3,710
|skin problems that resolve themselves within 3 months
|£8,550 to £19,690
|light sensitivity, double vision, permanent but minor issues
|£158,970 to £197,480
|significant damage or loss to both kidneys
|up to £60,050
|risk of loss of function
|non-traumatic (b) (i)
|£36,060 to £49,270
|severe types of toxicosis or poisoning, cramps and need for hospitalisation
|serious (b) (ii)
|£8,950 to £18,020
|diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, some residual distrubance
|very severe (a)
|£264,650 to £379,100
|complete 24 hour dependence on others for all basic needs
|Up to £172,860
|double incontinence namely total loss of natural bowel function
Merely guide figures, each award will vary according to circumstance.
In the table above, the brackets only relate to one part of your claim, general damages. Special damages can make up the second part of your compensation. Importantly, these amounts require documented proof that shows how you directly suffered financially because of the prescription error. Therefore, with the correct evidence you could claim for:
- Any loss of earnings
- Travel expenses to hospital or work
- The need for additional treatments or medical care
- Adaptations to your home or vehicle to incorporate a disability
- Domestic help at home to cook, clean, or wash
There may be others. Discuss your circumstances with us now to include present and predicted future costs forced on you by the prescription error illness. Only one claim qualifies, therefore it’s vital to include everything.
If you have decided to seek compensation after illness because of a prescription error in a hospital, our advisers can help. They could connect you with No Win No Fee medication error medical negligence solicitors who could take up your case at no initial cost to you whatsoever.
If the case succeeds they ask for a maximum deduction of 25% as their fee. If your case fails, there is nothing to pay a No Win No Fee solicitor at all.
The advantages of this are clear. They can explain the legal jargon and give your case the time and scrutiny it requires. You simply provide as much evidence as possible. They do the rest.
With this in mind, you could start a claim now in one simple phone call when you:
- Call our team on 0161 696 9685
- Email us or use the online contact at Advice.co.uk
- Or access immediate contact with the ‘live support’ option
Below are some further resources to help after suffering prescription errors in hospital:
- More information about a how to prove medical negligence
- Negligence claims against a GP
- More information about a medication error at a nursing home
- Medical negligence and wrongful death compensation guide
- If your child has suffered a broken bone or fracture during birth, head here to learn about your rights to claim compensation.
- NHS advice about optimal medication procedures
- More details about how your pharmacy can help
- Lastly, tips for carers on prescription medicine proper procedure