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A Guide To Hospital Medication Error Claims

By Cat Way. Last Updated 30th May 2023. When we visit the hospital, either as an outpatient or for an extended stay on a hospital ward, we have to trust all of the doctors, nurses, surgeons, specialists, etc. to ensure that we are taken care of professionally. Negligence could occur to a hospital patient if the standard of care is allowed to fall below the minimum standard.

If you were to suffer some form of harm due to hospital negligence that could have been avoided, then you may be able to make a personal injury claim. You will need to prove that negligence took place which caused unnecessary harm, and also make your claim within the personal injury claims time limit, to have any chance of your claim being a success.

Wrong medication given in hospital

Wrong medication given in hospital

This guide covers the process of making a claim for hospital medication errors. If you have any questions related to either your own claim, or the claims process in general, then please speak to our claims team on 0800 073 8804. An advisor will be available 24/7 to answer any questions you have. And also help you to get your claim started as soon as possible. Or, you can even message us about your claim online.

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Eligibility To Claim For The Wrong Medication Given In A Hospital

In order for a personal injury lawyer to be able to successfully process a claim for you, you will need to be eligible to make a claim for clinical negligence. You will also need to be able to prove that negligence did indeed take place. If we were to examine a number of medical negligence claims, we would find that each of them has the following three things in common:

  1. A medical professional made a pharmaceutical error, and this resulted in you suffering some form of physical harm or illness.
  2. The medical professional involved had a duty of care never to cause you any unnecessary harm.
  3. Had the medical professional taken alternative action, the pharmaceutical error would not have occurred.

However, you need to understand that in order for a claim to be possible, you must be able to prove that negligence took place. When you make a negligence complaint, the complaint is investigated by a panel of medical professionals working for the healthcare facility where the negligence took place. If this panel rules that negligence did not take place, you will need to be able to refute this decision, and prove that negligence did indeed take place.

If you need some free legal advice on how to prove liability, and the kind of evidence you can gather to submit in support of a claim, please call our claims team today. A claim advisor will talk over your situation with you, and provide you with the help you need.

How Long Do I Have To Make A Wrong Medication Claim?

You may be wondering how long you have to make a wrong medication claim. Generally, you will have three years to start a hospital negligence claim. This time limit begins from the date you were harmed or the date that you connected the harm you suffered with negligence (otherwise known as the date of knowledge). This time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980. However, there are some exceptions.

For example, the time limit is frozen for claimants under the age of eighteen. During this time, a court-appointed litigation friend could start a claim on their behalf. However, if a claim has not been made by the injured party’s 18th birthday, the time limit reinstates from this date.

Furthermore, the time limit is suspended indefinitely for those who lack the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves. In this case, a litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf. Should they regain the appropriate capacity and a claim has not already been made, then the limit will reinstate on the date of their recovery.

For more information on what to do if the wrong medication is given to a patient in a hospital, contact our team of advisors today. They can offer more information through a free consultation.

Hospital Medication Errors – Examples

Medication errors in a hospital can take many forms. Below, we’ve included a few examples of instances that could be grounds for a claim if your health is affected as a result.

  • The hospital gave wrong medication – For instance, the pharmacist at the hospital may have misread your prescription and dispensed the wrong medication. Unnecessary medication may impact your health. In addition, the lack of medication you actually need can mean the condition or illness you are suffering could become worse due to the lack of appropriate treatment.
  • Wrongly prescribed medication – Other scenarios could include the wrong dosage being prescribed or dispensed. A dosage that is either too low or too high can impact your health.
  • Allergic reactions – If you have a known allergy, then this should be recorded in your medical files. If so, then the doctor prescribing your medication should consult this information to make sure you are not given a prescription that could trigger a reaction.

For more examples and information, reach out to our advisors today.

Types Of Medication Errors In A Hospital

There are a number of ways that medication errors in hospitals could occur. And not every one of them is the fault of a pharmacist, although some are, for example:

  • A doctor prescribes the wrong medication.
  • A pharmacist dispenses the wrong medication.
  • A patient is administered medication meant for another patient.
  • A patient is given the wrong dose of medication, or the medication is administered incorrectly.
  • An outpatient is given medication to take home without being provided with wrong instructions on how to take the medication safely.

All of these are ways that a mistake made with prescription medication can result in harm to a patient. In each case, if the patient can prove the mistake took place and they suffered unnecessarily it could be possible for them to make a compensation claim. Speak to our claims team for more information, and to start your own claim.

Medication Errors In Hospitals Affecting Children

All of the mistakes mentioned above can result in medication errors in hospitals that can affect children. However, in some cases, the consequences of such a mistake are far more serious for a young child than they would be for an adult.

This is especially true for babies, toddlers and infants, who generally are prescribed much lower doses of medication. Furthermore, some kinds of medication are only given to children in special circumstances. The NHS has published some excellent information about children and medication.

If your child is harmed due to a pharmaceutical error, then you could be able to make a claim on their behalf, acting as their litigation friend. If you would like to learn how being a litigation friend works, please speak to one of our claim advisors today.

What Impact Could Being Given The Wrong Medication Have On A Patient?

In this section, we will attempt to answer questions such as, a nurse gave wrong medicine how serious could this be? And others.  If a hospital prescribed the wrong medicine and a patient has taken it, then the consequences of doing so can be severe. Of course, in some cases, there are no consequences. However, the kind of harm a person who takes the wrong medication could potentially face include:

  • An allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.
  • A drug overdose.
  • Brain damage and diminished cognitive ability.
  • Damage to the liver or kidneys.
  • Minor symptoms such as headaches, nausea or vomiting.
  • Exposure to the danger of addiction.
  • Psychological disorders and personality changes.
  • Coma or death.

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a pharmaceutical error, then a claim could be possible. If you speak to our claims team, they will explain how to proceed.

Compensation Calculator For The Wrong Medication Given In A Hospital

It is impossible to give an average figure for the amount of compensation a person making a personal injury claim might receive for hospital negligence related to pharmaceutical errors. Each claim has its own unique aspects, and this has an effect on the compensation settlement. However, the table below, which has been based on Judicial College Guidelines, will enable you to match the severity of your illness to the potential compensation range.

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Medical Condition Severity Info Payment
Illness Minor Varying degrees of disabling pain, cramps, and diarrhoea continuing for some days or weeks. Up to £3,950
Illness Moderate The symptoms may include significant discomfort, stomach cramps, alteration of bowel function and fatigue. Hospital admission is very likely and complete recovery could take up to 2 years. £3,950 to £9,540
Illness Serious Serious but short lived vomitting, diarrhoea, alteration of bowel function. The illness will alter a persons enjoyment of food, impact on sex life leaving a remaining discomfort and symptoms could last indefinitely. £9,540 to £19,200
Illness Severe This illness would be severe and even life-threatening in nature, and they would last several months or even more. The victim may well be hospitalised for quite some time, for stabilisation and advanced treatment. There may be some long-term or even permanent symptoms. £38,430 to £52,500

You may be able to find an online personal injury claims calculator that can give you a rough indication of the level of compensation that you could be able to claim for. If you want a more accurate estimate of the value of your claim, a lawyer will need to evaluate it for you, after you have been for a medical examination to discern the extent of your injuries/illness. Call our claims team if you would like some help with this.

Special Damages You May Be Eligible To Claim

If your compensation claim for clinical negligence is a success, then whether you are offered an out of court settlement, or you are awarded a settlement in court, you will likely receive a number of different kinds of damages. These fall under two main categories of special damages to compensate for financial and other losses, and general damages to compensate for the physical and psychological harm you have suffered. As examples of these:

  • General damages (pain and suffering):
    • General trauma, suffering and pain.
    • Stress and trauma.
    • Psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, new phobias, anxiety or depression.
    • Long-term, traumatic or painful treatment.
    • Permanent disability or impairment.
  • Special damages (financial losses):
    • Travel fees (travelling to get treatment or deal with the claim).
    • Medical bills if you have to pay for private treatment.
    • Cares costs to cover paying a nurse to take care of you at home.
    • Loss of earnings because you have to take time off work. This could be partial loss or complete.
    • Impaired earning potential if you will not be able to work at the same level in the future, or you are unable to work at all.

Our claims team can explain to you what kinds of damages you could be able to claim in your own case. Speak to one of our claim advisors, who will go over this with you.

No Win No Fee Claims If The Wrong Medication Is Given In A Hospital

By using the services of a No Win No Fee solicitor, you are sidestepping many of the financial risks that you could face if you were funding your claim in the traditional manner. You won’t pay your solicitor’s pre-agreed fee until they have received a compensation payment for you. They will collect their fee automatically at this time, and give you the money that is left.

This means no kind of new claims fee and no fee at all while the claim is processed. You also won’t be expected to pay the fees of your legal team if the claim fails and you don’t get any compensation.

Contact Our Team

Has your health suffered due to a pharmaceutical error of some kind? If it has, then you could be able to make a claim if you can prove negligence took place. If you contact us on 0800 073 8804, a claim advisor can help to get your claim started.

Supporting Information

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You can also read these other guides:

The more evidence you can gather, the better. A medical negligence solicitor can advise and assist you in this task.

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