Most people know that patients should only take medication for the illness that they currently have. In most cases it’s OK to trust that what you’ve been prescribed is correct and can be taken but errors do happen either with the initial prescription or the medication that is dispensed differs from the prescription.
In these cases patients can make a claim for medical negligence if it can be proven that the mistake happened in the first place and that the patient has had to deal with another illness or injury because of the prescription error.
It is important to understand where the mistake was made either at the pharmacy or with the initial prescription so that the claim can be made against the correct person or company.
Patients are very trusting of the medical professionals who prescribe and dispense medication but should be advised to check that the prescription is the correct dosage and medicine for their condition and also check that the label on the box matches what was on the prescription as a safety check when receiving medicine.
The most common reasons for prescription mistakes that lead to compensation claims are:
- Incorrect Doses Being Prescribed
Most medicines come in various different dosages (you’ll see things like 50mg, 25mg or 30mg on the prescription or the packaging) and mistakes can be made by the doctor writing the prescription or the pharmacist misreading the dosage from the prescription or on the packaging.
Children can receive adult doses which can lead to serious complications or even death.
- Mixing Medication That Should Never Be Mixed
If a patient is given two medications then there should be checks made to make sure the different medicines are OK to be taken at the same time.
Sometimes, if a patient is given a new medicine, the doctor may forget to check if the patient is on any other medication at the time.
- Allergic Reactions To Medication
Patients often have allergic reactions to certain types of medication which can lead to serious problems.
If the patient has never been diagnosed as allergic to a certain product then no-one is usually to blame but if the medical records show that they are known to be allergic and still get prescribed the wrong medicine then there is a good chance of claiming for medical negligence if subsequent problems occur due to the prescription.
- Medicine Taken For Too Long
Doctors should regularly check patients who are constantly requesting repeat prescriptions for historical conditions as some of the medicines have serious side affects if taken over a very long period.
If the patient is allowed to continue repeat prescriptions without seeing their doctor then injuries can occur and the patient would have a good chance of making a successful claim for compensation due to medical negligence.
Patients should ask to see their doctor if the initial problem is still occurring after a prolonged period of time.
This list isn’t comprehensive it is just a few of the most common ways in which patients can become injured due to mistakes with prescriptions.
Time Limits When Making Claims For Prescription Errors
As with all compensation claims for medical negligence, prescription errors are limited to 3 years from the time the patient becomes aware of the injury that was caused by the incorrect prescription.
The patient cannot claim for compensation just because the underlying issue that they were being treated for was not cured but if a new injury or problem occurred because of the wrong prescription being made then they should be able to make a claim.
Choosing A Solicitor To Use When Claiming For Medical Negligence
Medical negligence is harder to deal with than some other types of personal injury claims so patients who suspect their injuries have been caused by a doctor’s mistake should look to use a solicitor that specialises in medical negligence claims.
The medical profession are usually well represented legally and so the patient should ask any potential solicitor to show them evidence of their recent cases which are similar to the one that the patient is seeking to claim for.