All Posts in Category: Prescription Mistake Compensation

Prescription Negligence of €710000 Awarded to Woman (69)

A €710,000 prescription negligence compensation settlement has been agreed between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 69-year-old woman. The woman suffered a massive stroke after she was sent home from hospital without her required blood thinning medication. The award was approved at the High Court.

Along with the €710,000 payment, yearly care for the rest of her life around €250,000 a year is also being provided and an apology from the HSE was read aloud to the High Court.

Mary Moss was given the ok to leave hospital without her required prescribed anticoagulants. She remained “unknowingly” without these for an additional six weeks. This lack of medication resulted in her suffering a massive stroke and she is now disabled.

The HSE issued the apology to Ms Moss and her family via a court statement, and her family for any “shortcomings” the occurred during the treatment she was in receipt of at Sligo University Hospital. They said they were sorry for  the huge upheaval that this has caused to the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Des O’Neill SC, representing Ms Moss, advised the Judge that she had suffered a stroke in 2010 and recovered well following it. However, in February 2018 she had suffered another ‘episode’ and her anti-thinning medication was altered in hospital. However, her medication was not included in her prescription given to her when she was told she could return home. Sadly, this error went unrecognised she experienced a stroke six weeks later.

Mr O’Neill said Ms Moss is currently still in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, and has made a good recovery. Her family hope to bring her back home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as possible. Her daughter Leanne Moss, speaking outside court, that she was relieved to know that her mother’s care will be paid for annually and that this would assist her family greatly. She said her mother is confined to a wheelchair due to the fact that she suffered left side paralysis in the stroke.

The family’s solicitor, Roger Murray, told the court: “Thanks to a successful mediation, the family can now concentrate on getting the best possible care for their mother, and moving her home to the west where she is happiest.”

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Claim for Compensation for Deltacortril Side Effects Allowed to Proceed

A Cork woman´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects has been allowed to proceed after a hearing at the High Court

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork was given permission to proceed with her claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects after a motion to dismiss her case brought by one of the defendants was denied at the High Court.

Lorna had first been prescribed the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 to treat the skin condition vasculitis – a disorder which damages blood vessels and causes them to cluster together to form an unsightly and irritable rash on the surface of the skin.

After taking Deltacortril for several years, Lorna´s developed Avascular Necrosis – an uncommon but known side effect of Deltacortril – a disorder which stops blood reaching the bones of the knee and hip joints with the resulting effect that the bone tissue dies and the bone ultimately collapses.

By the time Lorna was thirty one years old, she had both knees and one hip replaced, and the Avascular Necrosis disorder had spread to such an extent that she was reliant on a wheelchair for her mobility and was permanently on morphine to control the pain.

After seeking legal advice, Lorna made a claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects against the two doctors who had prescribed the steroid tablets for her – her GP, Dr. Michael Madigan, and Dr. M Molloy -her consultant doctor at the Cork University Hospital.

In her claim against Dr. Madigan, Lorna alleged that her GP had not investigated her skin condition fully and had negligently prescribed Deltacortril when he was (or should have been) aware of the possible side effects.  In her action against Dr. Molloy, Lorna alleged the consultant had failed to identify the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis and continued to prescribe the steroids.

Lorna also made a claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects compensation against the manufacturer of the steroids – the pharmaceutical company Pfizer – alleging that the company had failed to include a warning in the literature accompanying the steroids that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and by neglecting to advise against drinking alcohol while taking the tablets.

The estate of Lorna´s GP (Dr. Madigan died in 1999), the HSE (of behalf of the Cork University Hospital where Dr. Molloy worked) and Pfizer denied that they had been negligent; and Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects dismissed on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

Mr Justice George Birmingham ruled that the delay was “excusable” after hearing that the delay in bringing the case to court was due to Lorna being unable to instruct her solicitors as she had recently undergone several major operations. The judge refused Pfizer´s application to dismiss the case – stating that Lorna´s claim for compensation for Deltacortril side effects would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

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Woman Successful in Claim for Employer Medical Negligence following Appeal

A woman in Australia has been successful in her claim for employer medical negligence after the original decision to award her compensation was upheld in the Court of Appeal.

Michelle Strickland (53) from Macquarie Fields in Sydney brought her claim for employer medical negligence after having passed out while working on the crate-cleaning process line at Chep Australia’s Wetherill Park factory in November 2010.

Michelle was taken to hospital, where doctors discovered that an aneurysm in her brain had ruptured, causing potentially fatal bleeding. Michelle underwent two major brain surgeries within the following year, but was left suffering from facial paralysis and memory loss, and has difficulty maintaining a conversation.

During a subsequent check-up, Michelle´s GP identified a connection between her neurological injury and an anti-inflammatory drug she had been prescribed by her employer´s contracted doctor, to treat a repetitive strain injury she had developed due to working on the crate-cleaning process line for ten years.

Through her husband, Michelle made a claim for employer medical negligence against Chep Australia, alleging she had complained to the company´s doctor that taking the medication gave her headaches and made her eyes hurt, but the doctor had told her to stop working until the headache cleared and then start again.

Chep Australia denied Michelle´s allegations, claiming that there was no connection between Michelle´s aneurysm rupturing and her employment, and that her neurological injury was inevitable as Michelle had a history of high blood pressure and was a regular smoker.

However, the New South Wales Workers Compensation Commission found in Michelle´s favour and awarded weekly compensation for employer medical negligence plus a package to ensure all her medical expenses were covered.

Michelle´s employers fought the decision and took her claim for employer medical negligence to the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Sydney. The Court rejected Chep Australia´s appeal and upheld the original verdict made in Michelle´s favour.

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Claim for Wrongful Death due to Medication Error Settled Out of Court

The widow of a man, who died after receiving hospital treatment for an infected toe, has settled her claim for wrongful death due to a medication error out of court.

Margaret Devereux from Greenrath in County Tipperary made her compensation claim for wrongful death due to a medication error following her husband´s death in Cork University Hospital in March 2008.

John Devereux had originally attended the South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel in January 2008 with a toe infection on his right foot. Doctors diagnosed that he was suffering with septic arthritis, prescribed Sodium Fusidate to treat the infection and sent him home.

However, John returned to South Tipperary General Hospital the following month after experiencing pains in his arms and legs. The toe infection had got no better, so he was administered with further doses of Sodium Fusidate and kept in for observation.

John´s condition deteriorated and it was later diagnosed that he was suffering with rhabdmoloysis – a condition in which the muscles break down – which may have been due to a conflict between the Sodium Fusidate that had been prescribed for him and his existing diabetic medicine, Lipitor.

As a consequence of the muscle breakdown, John developed acute renal failure, and he was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he died on March 2nd.

John´s grieving widow took legal advice about whether she had a claim for wrongful death due to a medication error which was worth her while to pursue, and despite the Health Service Executive denying that it had been in breach of its duty of care, a settlement of compensation was negotiated.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mrs Justice Mary Irvine heard that Margaret Devereux had settled her claim for wrongful death due to a medication error for €45,000 and, commenting that there would have been a “huge hill to climb to establish liability”, approved the settlement – describing the case as very tragic.

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Most Medical Malpractice Claims against GPs are for Wrong Diagnosis says RCSI

According to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), most medical malpractice claims against GPs are for wrong diagnosis.

The report – researched for the RCSI and recently published in the British Medical Journal – was compiled by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin after more than seven thousand medical malpractice claims against GPs had been analysed. Its objective was to identify which areas of primary care required specific attention when developing risk management systems for primary healthcare practitioners and planning future educational strategies.

“The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” found that the most common reason for medical malpractice claims against GPs were for the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the female genital tract – medication errors (prescribing and administering) and, in children, the failure to correctly diagnose appendicitis and meningitis.

Lead researcher Dr Emma Wallace – who is herself a GP – acknowledged that medical malpractice claims against GPs were not the ideal substitute for adverse events, but commented that when medical malpractice claims are made against GPs, the doctors against whom the claims are made often suffer increased stress levels – reducing their effectiveness, and placing more patients at risk of a misdiagnosis or medication error.

Dr Wallace also highlighted the fact that GPs are more frequently practicing defensively due to the risk of litigation, and referring patients to consultants rather than make a diagnosis themselves. This unwillingness to use their experience to make a diagnosis can lead to patients´ conditions deteriorating further (due to the delay in seeing a consultant) and ultimately create more pressure on an under-resourced health service.

She hopes that the “systematic review is timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety” and that the report will provide an insight into the types of adverse events in clinical practice and the reasons for them happening, which would reduce the number of medical malpractice claims against GPs in Ireland and have the effect of increasing the standard of primary care provided.

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Medical Council Investigates GP Malpractice Claim Against A Dublin GP

The Medical Council is investigating a GP malpractice claim against a Dublin GP who allegedly over-prescribed psychoactive benzodiazepines.

It is claimed that Dr Mohammed Ahmed Khan, who practices in Wicklow Street, Dublin, prescribed up to four times the correct dosage of drugs such as Valium to patients suffering from anxiety and depression. The Medical Council are also looking into allegations that Dr Khan failed to make adequate enquiries as to whether any of the patients he was prescribing these drugs to were already being treated by another doctor.

In addition Dr Khan has been accused of poor professional performance due to his alleged failure to refer patients with a dependency on benzodiazepines to drug treatment centres or specialist substance misuse practitioners and also due to his reliance on prescription drugs where an alternative form of treatment may have been more beneficial to the patient or in their best interests.

The Medical Council regulates doctors to practise medicine in the Republic of Ireland and its statutory role, as detailed in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners.

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Claims Agency Admits Four Fatal Hospital Malpractice Blunders

The State Claims Agency, which oversees the clinical indemnity scheme for the healthcare system, has revealed that four hospital patients died between January 2004 and December 2010 after they were administered medication to which they had a known allergy.

Figures made public earlier this year also showed that 35,310 incidents involving medication were recorded in the seven year period – a number of which led to patients becoming ill and having to be admitted to hospital intensive care units.

Although 95 per cent of these did not lead to any patient harm, there were 124 medical negligence claims in Ireland solely attributable to adverse or allergic reactions to a known allergen, and the State Claims Agency has urged medical practitioners to ensure patients do not have an allergy before prescribing or administering treatment.

According to studies made on behalf of the State Claims Agency and Health Service Executive, the errors are happening due to the complex way medicines are administered – with often a dozen steps being required before a single dose of medication is delivered to a patient.

However patient lobby groups allege that despite the acknowledgement of more than 5,000 medication errors each year, patient treatment incidents are under-reported in Ireland – a view shared by “Patient Focus”, who claim that the scale of the problem has not been accepted by the medical profession.

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Wrong Prescription Poisoning Case Leads to Million Euro Award

The widow of a man who was administered the wrong drug to treat a case of poisoning, has had a wrong prescription poisoning compensation settlement of 1 million Euros approved in the High Court.

Colm O’Donovan (31) from Dunmanway, County Cork, had become ill in August 2005 with suspected food poisoning, and his wife, Patricia, had called the South Doc out of hours medical service. The doctor with the service gave Colm an injection of Cyclamorah, but the next morning his condition had deteriorated. Colm collapsed as he tried to get out of bed and started to suffer seizures.

Patricia once again got in touch with South Doc medical service, and this time Colm was attended by Dr. Johan Dirk van der Meer. Dr. van der Meer diagnosed that Colm’s seizures were a reaction to the first drug and administered an injection of Largactyl – claiming that it would control the seizures. Instead, Colm’s condition continued to worsen and, shortly after being attended by his GP the following morning, suffered a heart attack and died.

It was alleged in the subsequent wrong prescription poisoning action against South West Doctors On Call Ltd, trading as South Doc, of St Finan’s Hospital, County Kerry and Dr. van der Meer that Dr. van der Meer had failed to conduct a full examination of Colm. This, it was alleged, would have shown a serious illness for which Colm could have received treatment in hospital. It was also claimed that by administering the injection of Largactyl, Dr. van der Meer accelerated a serious illness which eventually lead to Colm’s death.

Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was told in the High Court that liability had been admitted by Dr. van der Meer and the action against South Doc was struck out. Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was also told that an agreement had been reached between Colm’s family and the negligent party for a compensation settlement of 1 million Euros, which he was happy to approve.

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