Although we would all like to believe that we can trust our doctors implicitly, sadly this is not always the case. It is thought that 1-2% of all UK and US patients are harmed by prescription errors; that is, from being given the wrong drug or dosage. But how is it possible that so many errors could occur, with doctors knowing full well that the consequences of prescribing the wrong drug can be fatal?
How prescription errors occur
Sometimes, drugs can be harmful when they are prescribed for very long periods of time. The psychiatric drug lithium, for example, can be very harmful to the liver. Some brands of the contraceptive pill can cause an increased risk of cancer. If a drug has been prescribed for so long that it has caused you harm, this would be considered a prescription error as an alternative treatment should have been found for you before the harm was done.
Other prescription errors can occur due to simple ‘human error,’ as when the doctor accidentally writes down the wrong name of drug or dosage, or the pharmacist misreads the prescription. Although easy to make, these mistakes are unacceptable in medical practice as they can cause a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering.
It’s also often the case that a patient is allergic to a particular drug that has been prescribed. If this information was never previously known, it would be considered an unfortunate event, but not medical malpractice. If the information was already in the patient’s medical notes, however, it would be considered a prescription error.
What to do if you have been injured by a prescription error
If you have been caused a great deal of harm and suffering through someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation. This is a legal provision which exists to compensate the victim of others’ negligence not just for their physical suffering but also for any financial losses incurred as a result of their injury.
To learn more about personal injury compensation and to discuss your particular case in detail, call our expert advisers at Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and our advisors will be able to let you know whether there is a legal precedent for your particular case. If you choose to go ahead, your claim will most likely be done entirely over the telephone, and on a no win, no fee basis. For a very quick guide to your eligibility, have a look at our 30-second online test.