Mistakes Administering Drugs

A huge number of prescription drugs are administered every year. Care has to be take in administration of such drugs to ensure they are appropriate, in amount, in format and in interaction. The British Formulary has strict guidelines for prescriptions which should be followed and taken account of.

For the most part drugs are administered correctly and do their job as intended. However mistakes can be made, whether it be by the hospital by staff, GP, pharmacy or Consultant.

When things do go wrong side effects can occur. Usually side effects are often only short term and cause little problem. However in some cases serious illness and injury can be caused.

For example:

A failure to administer clexane following significant surgery can lead to development of a DVT or pulmonary embolism.

An overdose of gentamicin can lead to bilateral vestibulopathy and permanent issues

Stomach ulcers and bleeding, allergic reactions, blindness, psychological illnesses and in rare cases, neurological injuries. These mistakes can even result in pulmonary embolisms and death, and cause strokes resulting in significant disability and brain damage. 

Mistakes can be made by hospital staff, GPs as well as pharmacists, and our specialist clinical negligence solicitors have experience in dealing with all sorts of these claims on behalf of both adults and children. 

Not only can GP’s prescribe the wrong drug or the wrong dose of a drug, they have been known to accidentally give a patient a prescription for another patient by mistake. Further mistakes can be made by the pharmacists when dispensing the medication, and sometimes it can be a combination of both. 

Hospitals are also often at fault, often giving the wrong dose of drug and causing an overdose, administering a drug intravenously instead of intramuscularly, giving and giving a patient drugs prescribed for someone else, and prescribing combinations of drugs that should not be given together. 

There are very strict time limits for making clinical negligence claims. Legal action must be taken within 3 years of the negligent treatment, or within 3 years of when you first knew, or should have known, that you had suffered an injury as a result of the treatment. Children must take legal action before their 21st birthday. Special rules apply to people who are mentally incapable of taking legal action themselves. We will be able to advise you of the time limit specific to your case. 

Our cases

Our client Mrs H was given an overdose of gentamicin to deal with a lung infection. As a result she developed a vestibular condition as a result of irreversible damage to the inner ear causing poor concentration and loss of balance. She recovered damages of over £230,000.

Over prescription of Warfarin to our client Mrs B resulted in death. The case settled following an Inquest where we represented the family and the Coroner made a recommendation to the Defendants to change their working practices (one of the first cases, if not the first, to apply the House of Lords Judgement in the case of Middleton). Damages £15,000