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Home > Personal Injury > Medical Negligence > Medical Establishments > Dispensing incorrect medication

Dispensing incorrect medication

Year-on-year increases in medication errors

The NPSA (the National Patient Safety Agency) reported in September 2009 that medication incidents from England and Wales, which account for the third largest group of all incidents reported to them, has seen a year-on-year increase.

Concerns over the use of Avandia for type 2 diabetes

Concern has been raised about the use of Avandia for sufferers of type 2 diabetes. Routinely prescribed to patients who have previously been treated with other medication, Avandia has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure.

Two million patients are currently using Avandia worldwide, with over 100,000 patients in the UK.
More about Concerns over the use of Avandia for type 2 diabetes

More medical negligence news

Please select one of the following links to read more about incorrect medication and how Clear Answers may be able to help you make a claim for compensation..

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Medication errors

Clear Answers' lawyers have successfully represented many clients who have been the victim of such medication errors, which can occur at a number of points throughout the dispensing process.

Since dispensing of medication can take place within hospitals, at GP practices, and of course, in Care Homes, errors can occur at any of these locations when medical staff issue the prescription. Of course, other points at which errors can occur include the point of dispensing the medication, sometimes because the error is made by the pharmacy in the amount prescribed, or often by dispensing the wrong product. It is critical therefore, that care is taken both at the point of prescribing the medication, and at the point of dispensing.

Errors are often spotted by the patient themselves, particularly if the prescription is a repeat of a regular item, or sometimes by the health professional dealing with the patient. Unfortunately, errors are frequently not spotted for some time, resulting in the patient taking inappropriate, or even dangerous, medication for extended periods. This can lead to physical injury or chronic overdose.

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Errors which can occur in prescribing medication

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Errors which can occur in dispensing medication

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Consequences of a patient taking incorrect medication

Symptoms caused by incorrect medication can range from short-term dizziness and sickness to very serious conditions requiring hospital admission, additional medication and treatment. The most serious medication incidents can lead to organ transplants and sadly sometimes even death.

Clear Answers' lawyers have regularly represented clients who have received incorrect medication, and tragically, many families of victims who have died as a result of receiving the wrong medication.

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Successful compensation claims for clinical negligence dispensing error cases

Gall bladder removal surgery patient

Having recently had gall bladder removal surgery, our client, a 72-year-old gentleman was given a prescription for Omeprazole, which is prescribed for a pre existing stomach condition. His wife attended, had the prescription filled at a very well known chemist. The chemist placed the medication in a sealed bag and she reasonably took it for the medication as prescribed.

After taking several dosses of the medication, our client began to suffer symptoms of dizziness, problems sleeping, blurred vision, acid reflux and muscle ache.

Initially believing that his symptoms would be related to his gall bladder surgery, our client continued to take the medication for about a week. However, he then began to suspect that the sudden onset of his symptoms might be related to his medication.

He realised that he had been dispensed the incorrect medication by the chemist when he checked on the internet and found that the actual medication he had been given was for patients with high blood pressure. He brought this to the attention of his GP and the chemist, who apologised for the serious error and immediately replaced the medication with the correct product.

Our client asked for our medical negligence compensation advice and we were able to obtain a formal acceptance of fault from the chemist, as well as compensation for the damage caused to our client.

Incorrect medication for repeat prescription

Our client in this medical negligence compensation claim was given a repeat prescription by his GP to treat his depression. He normally took tablets of Amlodipine on a daily basis.

He collected his medication from his local chemist and had been taking it for several days when he began to suffer from lack of sleep, severe headaches, nausea, dizziness and a feeling of disorientation.

Assuming that his symptoms may be unrelated, our client continued to take the medication for a few more days. Eventually, however, he noticed that the printed label on the medication box read Amitriptyline but the actual box and the enclosed information leaflet read Amlodipine.

Amlodipine is a medication that is prescribed to treat patients with high blood pressure and therefore acts to reduce a patient’s blood pressure.

Our client was advised to attend his local hospital immediately by NHS Direct, where he was seen by a Cardio-Vascular consultant. He was immediately admitted for 2 days and the seriousness of the incident was explained to him. He has been left with continuing symptoms of dizziness and blurred vision, which took almost a year to subside.

The chemist acknowledged the error but did not take any further action. We obtained an admission of fault from the chemist after submitting necessary medical evidence on our client’s behalf, and successfully fought a Clinical negligence claim for compensation against the chemist for dispensing incorrect medication.

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Proving you have a valid compensation claim for medication errors

In order to make a successful claim for medical negligence compensation because of being prescribed incorrect medication, it is necessary to be able to prove two key points. Firstly that someone was negligent in their part of prescribing or dispensing the incorrect medication, and secondly that you have suffered an adverse outcome as a direct result of taking the incorrect medication.

Negligence on the part of the doctor or pharmacist must be proven to be a result of the standard of care being delivered by them was below the standard of care that could reasonably be expected. Circumstances that would meet these criteria might include the doctor’s failure to notice that the ingredients of the medication were inappropriate for your symptoms or condition.

Similarly, the chemist or pharmacist may not notice that the medicine they were dispensing was not appropriate for your symptoms or condition. Further errors might occur because they failed to check the name on the label was the same as the actual medication contained in the packaging, or that the dosage they were dispensing was correct.

Clear Answers' lawyers have the experience of dealing with many of these types of medical negligence compensation claims to advise you whether you would be successful in proving negligence against the doctor or pharmacist.

The second requirement, that of showing you had suffered an adverse outcome to taking the incorrect medication, would normally be substantiated by providing evidence of treatment by your GP and/or treatment, or even admission, at hospital.

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Medical negligence news stories

Clear Answers' lawyers deal with very many successful cases of all types of medical negligence and personal injury claims. We have teams of experts with a wealth of experience in your type of accident or injury, waiting to help you claim your rightful compensation.

Please visit our regularly updated Personal Injury News Section to view some examples of our successful personal injury accident compensation claims.

Below is just one example of a medical negligence news items. Please read the full story by clicking on the links.

Improvements needed in prescribing drugs to children in hospital

Following on from a report by the NPSA (the National Patient Safety Agency) issued in September 2009 that medication errors has seen a year-on-year increase, a new study by the School of Pharmacy, University of London, and covering five London hospitals, has found that more than one in 10 prescriptions that hospital doctors write for children, contained mistakes.
More about Improvements needed in prescribing drugs to children in hospital

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Making a claim for medical negligence compensation

Strict time limits apply to making a claim for medical negligence compensation. If you have experienced adverse symptoms as a result of taking incorrect medication, please contact an experienced medical negligence law firm as quickly as possible as your right to make a claim may be lost if you miss these strict time limits.

If you have been given incorrect medication, it is important that you keep the original boxes that contained the original medication and the information sheets enclosed, or at least take a photocopy of them. These documents may be needed to assess a legal claim.

Clear Answers have a team of medical negligence experts waiting to help you if you decide to instruct us in bringing your compensation claim. Telephone us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms, and a representative will contact you as soon as possible.

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