How often do you question your GP about the medication you have been given and how appropriate it is to successfully improve your health whilst not causing any unwanted side-effects?
And how closely do you then inspect the medication you are given to ensure a mistake has not been made?
What if you then start to feel worse? How quickly do you question the impact of the medication and consider that it could be making matters worse?
The answer to all is probably not very often, as we all put out trust in those working in the medical profession to know what is right, and to not make mistakes.
But medication errors do happen – and they can prove life-changing and fatal.
Medication error cases have led to loss of sight, strokes and death
In our work at Hudgell Solicitors in supporting people who have suffered as a result of medical negligence, we have been concerned at the number of cases where basic errors have been made with regards to patients’ medication.
From the wrong medication being given to incorrect doses being advised, patients taking the medication for too long or in some cases not being given it quickly enough, our team is experienced in examining the care received and identifying any mistakes, and the severity of errors made.
Sadly, those errors can be life changing, and even fatal, as in a number of cases we have acted on recently. These include;
- A grandmother dying after being wrongly given tablets to reduce blood sugar levels by a pharmacists despite never having suffered from diabetes.
- A woman being left with extra difficulties in life, including the loss of memory and communication skills, after not being given the appropriate doses of seizure-controlling medication in hospital.
- A 77-year-old patient losing almost all of his sight after doctors failed to take him off medication known to cause loss of vision as a side effect.
- A patient dying shortly after suffering a stroke after her GP left her without vital blood-thinning medication for more than a week when switching treatment.
Patients must play a part in preventing medication errors happening
Given that mistakes can and do happen, patients are best advised to always take any medication with caution, and to ensure they make their GPs aware of any medical history which could impact on the treatment they can have. Always;
- Ask about the risks or side effects of any new medication prescribed, and if you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask more questions of your GP or pharmacist.
- Be aware of the medications that you cannot take (perhaps due to allergies or other reasons), and any medication you are already taking, to inform the doctor before they prescribe something new.
- Make sure you look carefully at all medicines before you take them, and if they don’t look like what you usually take, ask questions.