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A Guide To Hospital Medication Error Claims – How To Claim Compensation If The Wrong Medication Is Given In A Hospital

By Daniel Archer. Last Updated On 7th April 2022. 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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A Guide To Claims For Medication Errors In Hospitals

In this online guide, we look at what happens if a hospital was to give a patient the wrong medication, causing the patient to become ill, or suffer some other form of harm. In general, such an incident would be deemed as medical malpractice, and the injured party could have a valid basis for a compensation claim. We begin this guide with an overview of what pharmaceutical errors are, and how the concepts of eligibility and liability work in such a case.

The next part of this guide is given over to discussing many of the facts that are related to this kind of pharmaceutical error. These facts apply equally to hospitals that are run by the National Health System (NHS) and private hospitals. We cover some of the ways these incidents come about, and also how they could affect children who are being treated in hospital. We present some of the key statistics rattled to pharmaceutical errors in the UK, and how many deaths these mistakes cause each year. Finally, we list some of the main effects taking the wrong medication can have.

The last part of this guide gives information that is in relation to the financial and legal considerations when making a claim. We have provided a table that lists possible compensation ranges based on the severity of injuries. You can use this to get a rough idea of how much you could be able to claim. It was created using the English Judicial Guidelines, so it will only apply to claims made within English and Welsh law.

You will also find a section that lists some of the more frequently awarded kinds of special damages. Lastly, we go over the concept of a No Win No Fee claim, and try to show why using such a legal service can help to protect you from the financial risks associated with making a claim.

You might have questions about the contents of this guide, or about your own legal situation. If you do, our claims team can help you. Speak to one of our claim advisors on the phone number down at the end of this guide. They will talk through your claim with you, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with some free legal advice on how best to proceed with a claim.

What Is A Hospital Medication Error?

If a hospital gave a patient the wrong medication, and this caused some kind of harm to the patient, then it could be deemed to have been a case of medical negligence. This is true whether the cause was an NHS medication error, or a mistake made in a private hospital.

Every pharmacist, as well as the staff that assist them, has the same duty of care towards patients as any medical professional. When a mistake is made in a way that could have been avoided, then a claim could well exist for suffering caused. In the last part of this guide, we will cover the concept of eligibility to claim in more detail.

Other hospital staff can also contribute to medication errors. For example, a doctor could prescribe the wrong dose of medication, or a nurse could give medication that was meant for somebody else to a patient staying in a hospital ward.

If you can prove you were harmed due to a pharmaceutical error at a hospital, we could be able to help you to make a compensation claim. Speak to a claim advisor to have your claim evaluated 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.

Statistics Highlighting Rates Of Medication Errors

In this section, we attempt to answer the question, how many medication errors occur each year in the UK? In order to do this, we will be using data that has been provided by the University of Manchester and also the General Medical Council. Using these sources, we find that:

  • In a study of 6,000 prescriptions issued by GP’s in England, in all, 1 in 20 prescriptions written featured an error, 42% of these mistakes were minor in nature, 54 were moderate in nature, and 4% of them were deemed to be severe in nature.
  • One in eight patients overall, and four in ten patients over 75 years of age were subject to prescription errors.
  • 30% of prescription errors are related to not providing adequate information.
  • 18% of prescription errors are related to mistakes made with the dose.
  • 11% of prescription errors are related to patients being given the wrong information on when to take the medication.

If you are harmed by such a mistake, you may have a valid basis for a claim. Speak to a claims advisor to learn more.

Deaths Per Year Attributed To Medication Errors

To answer the question, what happens if you are given the wrong medication? The consequences of taking the wrong medication or wrong dose, can range from trivial to catastrophic, even life-threatening. The same resources that we referenced in the previous section show us that, in an independent study, it was estimated that there are approximately 200 million medication errors made each year in the UK. Avoidable Adverse Drug Reaction ADRs cause hundreds of deaths.

If you were to lose a loved one due to a fatal pharmaceutical or medication error, then you could be able to make a compensation claim on their behalf. The same applies to dependants of the estate of the deceased person. Speak to a member of our claim team today to learn more about making a claim for a death caused by a pharmaceutical error.

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.

Medical ConditionSeverityInfoPayment
IllnessMinorVarying degrees of disabling pain, cramps, and diarrhoea continuing for some days or weeks.£860 to £3,710
IllnessModerateThe 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. £3,710 to £8,950
IllnessSeriousSerious 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. £8,950 to £18,020
IllnessSevereThis 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.£36,060 to £49,270

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.

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 To Make A Claim For Medication Errors In Hospitals

If you have been harmed due to a pharmaceutical error, and you need to find a good personal injury solicitor to help you to make a claim, you can follow our simple new claims process:

  1. Reach out to our claims team on the number at the end of the page. Have your questions answered and get all the free legal advice you need.
  2. A claim advisor will evaluate your claim for you, and let you know whether it could be potentially valid.
  3. A personal injury lawyer will begin to process a claim on your behalf.

If you want updates on what we have been doing for you, or have questions about how your claim is being processed, all you need to do is give us a quick call.

Why Choose Us To Help You Claim Compensation

Here at Legal Expert, we specialise in helping illness and injury victims to get the compensation that they are entitled to. We will always do everything we can to maximise the chances of your claim being a success, and we will never do anything that could jeopardise your claim. We are always available to keep you updated on the status of your claim, and will do so using simple English with no legal jargon.

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.

Start Your Wrong Medication Claim

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

You might find these external links to be of some use:

You can also read these other guides:

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if the wrong medication is given to a patient?

You should always seek medical advice if you feel that your medication is having an impact on your wellbeing.

If you are in a hospital at the time, then let your doctor or nurse know as soon as possible.

What are medication errors in hospitals?

Although being given the wrong medication altogether is a possibility, it is not the only one. For instance, you may have been given the correct medication, but in the wrong dose. This could impact your health too. Too little of the drug and your condition may not be treated effectively. Too much of the drug and further complications could develop.

Alternatively, you may not be prescribed the medication you require at all. This could be down to things such as misdiagnosis or even an administration error.

What proof will I need to support my claim?

There are a few, key pieces of evidence that you can acquire that may assist you during the process of your claim. Examples include:

  • Your medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Prescription slips
  • An independent medical assessment

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

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