LloydsPharmacy has agreed a damages settlement with a woman who ended up taking four times more than the safe amount of blood pressure tablets after being given the medication in error.
The woman had been taking 20ml of Amitriptyline a day for depression and had collected her regular prescription from the pharmacy, in Doncaster Gate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in June 2019.
She started taking the medication immediately, but unbeknown to her, there had been a medication mix-up at the pharmacy, meaning she was not only taking the wrong medication, but also an unsafe amount of the tablets she had been given.
In the coming days she started to suffer from breathlessness, dizziness and swollen feet, as well as noticing a drop in her mood. She became unable to walk as her feet become so painful.
Having contacted NHS 111, she was advised to elevate and bathe her feet, but as that led to no improvement, and having started to suffer from headaches, she was taken to the A&E department at Rotherham General Hospital by her family.
Doctors noted that the vessels in her feet were very open, and her feet were white in colour when elevated, but red when they were not.
She was prescribed antibiotics, but when she returned home with her family they checked the medication and noticed the label on the actual medication and the exterior box didn’t match, and that she had in fact been given Amlodipine tablets.
They returned to A&E immediately, where her blood pressure was checked and her blood was tested.
She was told she had been taking four times the safe level and that her blood results were deemed “borderline”. A heart murmur was also picked up and she was unable to return to taking her medication.
Legal claim led to admission of breach of duty of care
The woman, 21, instructed our medical negligence claims team at Hudgell Solicitors to represent her in a damages claim, resulting in legal representatives for LloydsPharmacy admitting it had breached its duty of care, with a compensation settlement agreed out of court.
As part of the claim, and independent pharmacist consulted for their opinion advised that, had the medication error not occurred, she would not have suffered from fatigue, dizziness, foot swelling and redness, headache and nausea.
“This had a big impact on me psychologically as I was already struggling and my medication was vital to me trying to improve my mood,” said the woman.
“It really set me back. I can remember the panic as I was ironing and all of a sudden my feet began to swell and the pain was like serious sunburn. I didn’t know what was happening. My medication had changed a few times and so I wasn’t that concerned when my tablets slightly changed in appearance.
“You trust medical professionals to get these sort of things right but I’m much more careful now though and always check all labels carefully. Mistakes like this shouldn’t happen as the medication is checked and signed off by two people, but in my case it still wasn’t enough.
“I’m glad the case has now been settled and that they admitted being at fault. It could have been much worse had I continued taking the wrong medication.”
Basic error with potentially serious consequences
Kirsty Yates, of Hudgell Solicitors’ medical negligence claims team, led the medication error claim on the woman’s behalf and said: “Prescription errors are really basic mistakes which should never happen, but can have serious consequences for patients.
“This had a significant impact on my client’s physical and mental well-being. She suffered from dizziness, fatigue, hair loss, headaches, nausea, flushing and ankle swelling, and her mobility also suffered due to the pains she suffered in her feet.
“The medication she was mistakenly given is used to lower blood pressure, which, when taken beyond the recommended levels, poses a danger of causing dangerously low blood pressure levels, and high heart rates.
“Thankfully, her family spotted the discrepancy between the label on the medication bottle and the box it had come in after she returned home from a first visit to hospital, otherwise she may well have continued to take the tablets for some time – in dangerous amounts – which would no doubt have caused further issues.”
The woman added: “I can’t praise Kirsty Yates enough for her help. I went into this not knowing the legalities involved in making a claim for compensation but she couldn’t have been more supportive and she made it easy. She was always updating and advising me and she really looked after my best interests.”
How Hudgell Solicitors supports clients following medication errors
We have a highly effective and proven system in place to deal with cases relating to prescription and medication errors. We can:
- Access medical reports quickly.
- Ascertain the severity of the error.
- Keep you updated and advised without the use of medical jargon.
- Deliver maximum compensation settlements smoothly.