Successful settlement following provision of incorrect medicine

Posted by Gemma Osgood on

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Mrs T saw her GP in March 2011 who prescribed her Erythromycin, an antibiotic, to treat a sinus infection. She took the prescription to a national supermarket Pharmacy and proceeded to take the medication  they gave her 4 times a day, as instructed on the box.

Two days later Mrs T went back to her GP as she was experiencing severe headaches, hallucinations, visual disturbance, nausea, tremors, confusion and a fast irregular heartbeat.  At the GP surgery she collapsed and staff discovered that the pharmacy had given Mrs T the wrong medication. Instead of the antibiotic Erythromycin, Mrs T had been given the anti-depressant Fluoxetine.

Mrs T had a family history of relatives dying from cerebral bleeds and she herself had been previously diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm.  She had been warned of the symptoms of a brain haemorrhage and these were the same as the symptoms she was now suffering as a result of taking the Fluoxetine. Mrs T was extremely distressed and worried that she may die.

Mrs T was admitted to hospital and underwent a CT scan of her brain and a lumbar puncture (a procedure where a needle is inserted into the spine).  Doctors diagnosed that her symptoms were due to the overdose of Fluoxetine and not a brain haemorrhage.

In addition to the physical effects of taking the wrong medication Mrs T suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive depression.  This was because of her fear that the symptoms she was experiencing were those, or could mask those, of a brain haemorrhage from which she was at risk of dying.

Mrs T instructed BL Claims Solicitors to pursue her claim. We sent a Letter of Claim to the pharmacy who admitted that they had dispensed the wrong medication but disagreed that this had caused Mrs T's continuing problems. They offered her £1,500 in damages.  This offer was rejected and we obtained supportive expert evidence. Negotiations were undertaken with the defendant solicitors and Mrs T eventually accepted £25,000 to settle her claim.


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About the Author

Gemma is a Senior Associate in our Clinical Negligence team with extensive experience in all areas of medical negligence claims.

Gemma Osgood
Email Gemma
023 8085 7248

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