By Cat Grayson. Last Updated 13th July 2023. This guide will look at the process of claiming for wrong-patient medication errors. Prescription errors can take a number of different forms, from problems with prescribing the wrong dosage of medication to the wrong medication being prescribed entirely.
A prescription error could also occur if two patients are given medication that was meant for the other patient. This could potentially cause harm to both patients, as each of their conditions could then be left untreated. Furthermore, the medication that is mistakenly given could cause the patients harm.
When you seek medical care, you are entitled to a minimum standard of care. If this standard is deviated from, then you could be harmed as a result. Delivering care below this standard is classed as medical negligence. This duty of care means you can claim against private healthcare providers as well as against the NHS.
For more information on claiming compensation for the harm you were caused by medical negligence, speak with an advisor today. You can get in touch by:
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- When Could You Claim For A Patient Medication Error?
- How Wrong Patient Medication Errors Happen
- Types Of Wrong Patient Medication Errors
- What To Do After Wrong Patient Medication Errors
- Check How Much You Could Claim For Harmful Medication Errors
- Can A No Win No Fee Clinical Negligence Solicitor Help You?
If a patient is given the wrong medication, this could have a serious effect on their health and well-being. For example, they could be allergic to the incorrect medication, or the dosage could be dangerously high and intended for another patient. This could cause significant harm. However, in order to claim for a medication error, you must be able to prove that:
- A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
- This duty was breached.
- You were unnecessarily harmed as a result of this.
As we have already mentioned, all medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care. This means that the care they provide must meet a minimum standard. If they fail to do so, and their patient is harmed as a result, this could result in a medical negligence claim.
If you were harmed as a result of a medication error, but a medical professional did not breach their duty of care, then you may not be able to claim. For example, if you were prescribed a medication that you did not know you were allergic to, or if the incorrect prescription did not cause you any harm, then you may not be able to claim.
To learn more about making a claim for harm after the wrong medication was given to a patient, contact our team of advisors today.
How Long Do I Have To Start A Medical Negligence Claim?
Generally, you will have three years to begin a medical negligence claim. This will begin on the date that you suffered harm or on the date that you connect this harm with negligence. This time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, but there are some exceptions.
For example, young people aged under the age of 18 cannot claim for themselves. If you are harmed while under the age of eighteen, then a litigation friend could make your claim on your behalf. Otherwise, the time limit will start on your eighteenth birthday and run until you turn twenty-one.
The time limit is also suspended for those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves. In these cases, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf. If they were to regain this capacity and a claim has not already been made for them, they will have three years to start their claim from the date of recovery.
Contact our team of advisors today to find out if you are within the time limit to make a claim.
Medication is an important aspect of medical care. It’s important that people receive the medication they need, in the correct dosages and administered in the correct manner.
If the wrong medication is administered, then this could result in the patient being harmed. This is because there are some drugs that can be harmful if they are taken by someone without a condition which means they require it. In some cases, a patient could be allergic to the medication that they are given by mistake.
Furthermore, if the medication for two patients is mixed up, this means that each patient is not receiving the drug they actually need for their condition. In some cases, this could result in wrongful death.
In order to claim compensation for medical negligence, you need to show that your condition was made worse by the breach of duty of care that you experienced. If you were given medication that was meant for another patient but did not impact your health in any way, you would not be able to claim.
It’s important to note that there is generally a three-year time limit to starting medical negligence claims. Some exceptions can apply, however; speak with us for more information.
For free legal advice on claiming for wrong patient medication errors, get in touch with our team today.
Below are some examples of the kinds of medication errors that could occur:
- A member of staff picks up the wrong medication bottle when getting medicine ready for a patient
- Two patients with the same name receive medication that is meant for one another
- When administering medication in a hospital, a nurse mixes up the numbers of two beds, meaning that the patients get each other’s medication
- Two patients who are prescribed the same drug require different doses of the medication. These are mixed up, meaning that one patient receives an overdose and the other an overdose.
These are not the only kinds of wrong patient medication errors that can be made. Get in touch with our team today to see if you could have a valid claim.
If you’ve been given another patient’s medication as the result of medical negligence, then you may be able to claim. There are some steps that you should take to ensure that you have the best chance of recovery, and also strengthen your claim.
Seek medical attention. You can do this at the facility you were originally treated, or ask for a second opinion elsewhere. This will mean that you get the treatment that you need and will also ensure that records exist of the incorrect medication incident.
Collect evidence. It’s a good idea to keep hold of any evidence of the financial impact of your injuries. You should also collect records of your prescriptions and, if possible, packaging from the medication you were given.
Seek legal advice. The advice and guidance of a solicitor, while not legally required, will be beneficial to you in making a claim. For example, they can help you collect evidence and can let you know when they think you should accept an offer of compensation.
For further guidance on what the process of claiming for wrong patient medication errors might entail, speak with an advisor today.
When you pursue compensation for harm caused by medical negligence, you could be entitled to claim two different kinds of damages. These are general and special damages.
General damages is the part of your claim that compensates you for the pain and suffering that your injuries have caused you. This will be worked out with the help of a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. These are guideline compensation amounts that are based on previous awards that have been made.
You may also be invited to a medical assessment as part of your claim. Here, a medical expert will assess your injuries and determine that they’re consistent with your circumstances. This report will be used to value your claim.
We have included a table below using excerpts from the Judicial College Guidelines:
|Injury area||Severity||Award range|
|Brain damage- Moderate (i)||Moderate (c) (i)||£150,110 to £219,070|
|Kidney||Serious (a)||£169,400 to
|Stomach||Non-traumatic (b) (i)||£38,430 to
|Stomach||Non-traumatic (b) (iii)||£3,950 to
|Loss of sight||Visual disturbance (g)||£9,110 to £20,980|
|Psychiatric harm- Less severe||Less severe (d)||£1,540 to £5,860|
You might also be entitled to special damages. This is the part of your claim that can compensate you for the financial impact of your injuries. It can include:
- Loss of earnings while you’re off work recovering
- The cost of domestic help at home from family, friends, or paid carers
- Travel expenses to hospital or work, including parking and fuel costs
- Charges for additional medical treatments you cannot get on the NHS
- Childcare costs
It’s important that you provide proof of financial losses. For information on the evidence you could provide, as well as what could be included in claims for wrong patient medication errors, speak with an advisor today.
No Win No Fee agreements are a way of making a claim without the need to pay an upfront fee to solicitors. When you enter into a No Win No Fee agreement, there’s also nothing to pay as the claim progresses.
If your claim isn’t successful, you don’t have to pay your solicitor anything. In the event that you’re awarded compensation, your solicitor will deduct a legally capped percentage of your compensation.
Find out if you have good grounds for a medical negligence claim by reaching out to a member of our team today. It’s free, confidential and you could be connected with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.
Latest Guides and Resources
- Learn more about starting a medical negligence claim for an operation gone wrong
- Further reading on how to prove medical negligence in a compensation claim
- How to make a compensation claim for GP negligence
- Learn more about your medication
- Find out what your pharmacist can do for you
- In conclusion, read more about reporting a problem with medicine
If you have any more questions about wrong patient medication errors, speak with our team today.