By Joanne Jeffries. Updated 29th July 2021. Do you know what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication? Being given the wrong medication because a doctor or a pharmacy made a mistake can be very dangerous, and it could entitle you to compensation if it has caused you harm, due to medical negligence. If you have been affected by it, you are probably wondering “What Are Your Rights If You Have Been Given The Wrong Medication?” We have put together this guide to answer that question. If you have been the victim of clinical negligence in the form of being given the wrong medication, then you could have the right to make a claim for compensation for any suffering caused.
If you do wish to seek compensation, then a good way to do it would be to take on the services of a medical malpractice solicitor. Accident Claims UK can provide you with a medical negligence solicitor, an experienced expert who could help you win the compensation you deserve. There are many advantages to working with Accident Claims UK and our solicitors, and one of them is the fact that our solicitors offer no win no fee claims, a method you can use to avoid the burden of heavy legal fees when it comes to making a personal injury claim.
Assistance with what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication
This guide will contain information on how medication errors can occur, what their effects are, and what you can do about them using a medical negligence solicitor provided to you by Accident Claims UK. Please read it, and when you have, feel free to call our advice team if you want to know more or if you believe you should be allowed to make a personal injury claim. You can arrange for one of our accident claims team members to call you by putting your details into this online contact form. For information on making medical negligence compensation claims for other types of clinical malpractice, or what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, why not get in touch.
Select A Section
- A Guide To What Your Rights Are If You Have Been Given The Wrong Medication
- What Is The Wrong Medication?
- Examples Of Your Rights If Given The Wrong Medication
- Possible Types Of Wrong Medication Error
- Dangerous Drug Interactions If Given The Wrong Medication
- Wrong Dose Medication Errors
- Allergic Reactions To The Wrong Medication
- Pharmacists Professional Standards And Duty Of Care
- How Could A Patient’s Health Be Affected By The Wrong Medication?
- Calculating Compensation For Harm Caused By The Wrong Medication -Updated July 2021
- Could I Claim Compensation For Costs Or Losses?
- No Win No Fee Wrong Medication Error Claims
- Start Your Case
- Learn More About Medical Claims
We have put this guide together for people who have been affected by health problems arising from having been given the wrong medication by a doctor or a pharmacist. We think it might be helpful for you to know what your rights are in terms of seeking compensation as well as other things like how a medication error could occur, what the health effects of a medication error are and how they are caused. We also explain what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication and a loved one died.
Primarily, however, this article is about explaining to you what your rights in regards to claiming compensation and explaining to you how the process of claiming compensation works. To that end, we will explain how your compensation could be calculated, and what sort of things you can do yourself right now, which could help to improve your chances of being awarded compensation.
What to do if doctor prescribed the wrong medication – first steps
If you realise a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, what to do initially is stop taking it and seek medical advice. You should never continue taking the wrong medication as it could harm you as well as affecting your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Lastly, you will see in this guide the benefits of working with a solicitor from Accident Claims UK on making a personal injury claim. This will mainly come not only from the skill and experience that our personal injury solicitors bring to the table but also from the fact that our personal injury solicitors work by no win no fee claim agreements.
When receiving treatment for an illness or a health problem, it is very important that your doctor or pharmacist does not make any mistakes in prescribing, dispensing or administering the medication you receive. An error with the medication could cause serious health problems, such as failing to treat the illness you are suffering from or causing you to suffer a reaction to the medication.
The NHS has admitted that up to as much as one in twenty prescriptions given to patients is incorrect, with 1 in 550 prescription items associated with a severe error. Older people over the age of seventy-five are particularly at risk of receiving the wrong medication, with four in ten over 75’s had a prescription with an error. You can learn more about the scale of the issue through a number of the resources linked at the bottom of this article.
If you have been given the wrong medication, and it has resulted in you suffering a health problem, then you could have the right to claim compensation. Your right to begin a compensation claim lasts for three years from the date the medication was prescribed or three years after the date of the effects of the medication being diagnosed.
What to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication for a child
Parents or legal guardians of children under the age of 18 who have been affected by incorrect medication can claim on their behalf until the child turns 18. At which point, the now-adult can claim on their own behalf within a three year time period until they turn 21.
What to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication and a loved one died
People who have lost close family members due to prescription errors could claim compensation for pain and suffering on their family members behalf as well as claiming compensation for the loss of a relative who provided for them if they were a dependant.
There are many stages in the process of prescribing medication to a patient at which a mistake could possibly occur, resulting in health issues for the patient. Some of the types of mistakes that could lead to a medication error include:
- Admin errors:
- Transcription errors. There is an old stereotype of doctors having poor handwriting, but ensuring that their notes and prescription forms are readable is no laughing matter. A prescription form in illegible or unclear handwriting could lead to a patient receiving the wrong medication.
- Dispensing errors, a pharmacist might make a mistake when giving the patient the medication, by giving them the wrong container or a prescription containing the wrong amount or type of medication.
- Prescription errors. It is possible that through medical negligence, a doctor could give a patient a prescription which is inappropriate or potentially harmful to the patient.
Any one of these circumstances could happen through simple human error; however, doctors and pharmacists have a duty of care to ensure that these mistakes never occur. If a mistake like one of these has resulted in you receiving the wrong medication and subsequently suffering harm to your health you could be entitled to receive compensation.
Some drugs can have different (and dangerous) effects to what they are intended to have due to reactions (interactions) with other factors and conditions in the patient’s body. These can include:
- Interactions with the state of a patient’s body and health, such as obesity, smoking or mental health issues
- Interactions with other substances which the patient is consuming, such as cigarettes, alcohol or recreational drugs.
- Interactions with other prescription drugs.
What to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication – avoiding errors
Doctors must ensure they are fully aware of any pre-existing issues, or other substances present in their patient’s systems before prescribing medication in order to prevent the risk of prescribing a medication that causes a negative reaction. They are also expected to know enough about the effects of various medications to know which medications should and should not be prescribed together. Pharmacists also have a duty of care not to provide medication that could interact if a pharmacist sees a prescription that they do not believe is correct then they should flag it up.
If you have suffered a health problem as a result of being given a prescription that interacts with other substances, call our team to find out if you could receive compensation.
In some cases, the cause of the medication error will be an error with the dosage of the medication. That means that either too little or too much of the medication has been prescribed to the patient. There are a number of ways that a medication error might potentially occur:
- If a doctor or a pharmacist has issued an adults prescription to a child
- If a doctor has failed to account for the patient’s weight or height
- If a doctor has not written legible details causing a pharmacist to make a mistake
- If a pharmacist is at fault for a dosage error
- If the wrong amount has been put in the packaging or in the pills, in cases like these, the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing the drug could be liable.
Call our team to find out if our panel of solicitors could help you claim compensation.
Some drugs and medications may contain substances which some people may be allergic to. It is a part of a doctors responsibility to their patient to ensure that they are aware of any allergies that a patient may have and to ensure, if possible, that alternative medication is provided instead. If a doctor or pharmacist allows a patient to be administered a medication which they are allergic to, it could be grounds to make a clinical negligence claim.
Some of the signs of a minor allergic reaction to medication include:
- Rashes and itching
- Running nose and irritated eyes
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
In more severe cases, an allergic reaction to medication can trigger anaphylactic shock; the warning signs of this are:
- Difficulty breathing due to closing of the airways
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- Weak pulse and/or rapid pulse
- Falling blood pressure
- Passing out
What to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication leading to anaphylaxis?
Anaphylactic shock is life-threatening, seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction to a medication which might occur days or weeks after taking it may include:
- Fever and joint pain
- Fatigue and irregular heartbeat
- Inflammation of the kidneys
If you experience any of these symptoms or otherwise feel unwell, contact your doctor. If you have suffered these symptoms as a result of receiving the wrong medication, then you could be entitled to seek compensation. Get in touch with our team to find out more about starting a claim.
As medical professionals pharmacists have a duty of care to provide safe and effective treatment to their patients without making errors or causing harm to come to their patients, regardless of their level of experience. Doctors are bound by their duty of care to make the correct decision when it comes to prescribing medication to their patient.
Pharmacists also have a duty of care to their patient. As they are responsible for dispensing the medication, they are expected to be able to spot and flag up medications which they believe to be incorrect and potentially hazardous to their patient. Pharmacists must also dispense the medication correctly and in the correct amount.
A pharmacist who allows a patient to receive medication that is inappropriate and harmful to them by not performing their duties correctly could be classed as having broken their duty of care. If a pharmacist has broken their duty of care, then they could be liable for a compensation claim.
The effects on a patient’s health caused by being given the wrong medication can vary; in most cases, the patient will only suffer minor non-life threatening symptoms such as fatigue, rashes or vomiting. However, in more serious circumstances, such as when patients suffer an allergic reaction to the drug, the symptoms can be so bad as to be life-threatening. In cases such as these, a patient can experience anaphylactic shock, which can result from an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to medication can be life-threatening.
There is also, of course, the fact that the health condition which the patient was seeking treatment for in the first place may well not be treated effectively as a result of being given the wrong medication. Possible reactions to the medication aside, the health problem the patient is suffering from could worsen, leading to unnecessary pain and discomfort.
You will probably want to know what kind of compensation payout you may be entitled to for your claim. We cannot tell this right now, as you would have to provide a solicitor with the details of your health and financial situation first in order to calculate how much you are entitled to. However, we can help you to understand how your compensation will be calculated. Compensation rises in proportion to the scale of the injury or the severity of the illness. You can see some examples of injuries or health problems and their corresponding amounts of compensation in the table we have provided here.
|Dermatitis (Both hands)||Soreness, cracking, and discomfort, which may lead to psychological effects which may last for some time. Domestic and employment capabilities would be affected too.||£13,740 to £19,200|
|Dermatitis||One or both hands – affecting the claimant for a significant amount of time but use of gloves and treatment may be effective in settling the condition||£8,640 to £11,410|
|Asthma||Severe with permanent disablement. Regular coughing leading to disturbed sleep, and inability to fully enjoy life. Work would be severely restricted||£43,060 to £65,740|
|Asthma||Chronic asthma that causes difficulties in breathing, the need to use an inhaler from time to time, and restriction of employment prospects.||£26,290 to £43,010|
|Bronchitis and Wheezing||Affecting work/social life but substantial recovery over a few years||£19,200 to £26,290|
|Asthma||Mild, often caused by inhalation of irritating vapours||£10,640 to £19,200|
|Poisoning||Causing significant levels of discomfort and needing hospital admission||£3,950 to £9,540
|Kidney damage||Serious/permanent kidney damage to both kidneys||£169,400 to £210,400
|Toxicosis||Severe||£38,430 to £52,500
Any financial losses and expenses also need to be considered, as well as your physical health and well-being. Compensation can be claimed for losses and expenses you have had to deal with as a result of your injury as well as for the injury itself. Financial factors that can be compensated include:
- Inability to work, either temporarily or permanently
- Medical expenses
- Care expenses
- Travel expenses
- Cancelled plans
Make sure you have a record of your losses and expenses that can be backed up by providing the receipts and other associated paperwork. If you have any questions about what can be claimed for and how to prove it, call our team using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
Some people may wish to begin a claim, but feel that the expense of hiring a personal injury lawyer would make it impractical. Accident Claims UK addresses this problem by offering no win no fee claim deals to all of our claim clients. No win no fee claims are ones in which the compensation awarded for the claim is shared between the claimant and the solicitor, with the claimant receiving the larger share of course. If a no win no fee claim fails and the claimant is not awarded any compensation, then the solicitor will go without their payment. This allows people without funds to pay solicitors fees. To find out more, make use of the contact details below.
To learn more about how a compensation claim for receiving the wrong medication works, or to ask about starting a claim of your own, call us on 0800 073 8801 or fill in this contact form to arrange a call with our accident claims team.
FAQs on what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication
What to do if the medication is right but the dosage is wrong?
Taking the wrong dosage of a medication could be dangerous to you. An underdose of medication could cause an infection to get worse, for example. An overdose of medication could affect you too. In extreme cases, if you take an overdose of painkillers, for example, it could cause you to have difficulty breathing, or could cause you long term liver or kidney damage.
Depending on who prescribed the wrong dosage, or dispensed it, you could make a claim against your GP, a hospital, a dentist or even the pharmacy if the pharmacist dispensed the wrong dose but the prescription was correct.
I know what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication but what other medication problems could lead to a claim?
In some circumstances, being given the wrong instructions on how to take a medication could lead to personal injury, which means whichever professional gave you such instructions could have been negligent. For example, if you should space your doses out by 4 hours and your dosage instructions say every 2 hours, this could cause you to experience an overdose.
What should I check when receiving medication?
You should check the prescription once it is given to you, as well as checking it against the medication that has been dispensed to you. You should also check that the name and dosage match what’s on your prescription. If you are on other medications, you could ask the pharmacist and the doctor whether there could be a drug interaction.
Hopefully now you know what to do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication.