Wrong Prescription leads to compensation
Mr R came to see us when the treatment he received for a hand injury went wrong. Although he knew mistakes had been made he did not know whether this was enough for him to claim compensation for the pain he had suffered. He told us how he had an infection in his right hand after cutting it whilst working on a lorry engine. Initially he had thought nothing of the scar until after a few days it became hot and swollen at which point he went to his GP. The GP prescribed a course of antibiotics and Mr R took the prescription to his local chemists in Coventry. After two days of taking the antibiotics he had made no progress. If anything his discomfort was worse, a cyst seemed to have developed on his hand and a line had appeared running from his hand along the length of his arm to his shoulder - a clear sign of blood poisoning. He went to the walk in centre and staff there sent him straight to A&E. Mr R needed immediate surgery, he was told that if the poisoning reached his heart it could prove fatal. Unfortunately a theatre was not available so under local anesthetic he had the cyst lanced and was given intravenous antibiotics. Although he would say he had a high pain threshold Mr R said that even with pain relief this was the most painful thing he had experienced in his life. He underwent surgery the following day. When he was asked about how it had happened he told Hospital staff about the injury and his visit to his GP. The hospital found it hard to believe that the antibiotics had done little to stop the infection so asked him what they were. It was then discovered that instead of dispensing the antibiotics on the prescription his chemist had given him anti depressants with a similar sounding name. We agreed to represent Mr R on a no win no fee basis. Although we could see that no long term harm had been done by the antidepressants we advised that the chance had been lost for Mr R to make the recovery hoped for by his GP. We contacted the Chemists Insurers and argued that had the correct medication been given he would have made an uneventful recovery and would not have lost the several weeks off work that he did. This was almost as clear a case of negligence as we had ever come across. The insurers admitted fault after a short investigation. They agreed to compensate Mr R for his pain and suffering, loss of earnings and all of the legal fees involved in making the claim.