Medication Errors that resulted in an Avoidable Stroke
A patient who suffered from an avoidable stroke when his medication was mistakenly stopped by a Liverpool pharmacist has this week been awarded a £50,000 out of court settlement.
Our client had experienced a series of minor strokes in the past and as part of his treatment the Stroke Review Clinic at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital reviewed his medication. One of the medications prescribed was 75mg of Clopidogrel. This is an antiplatelet medicine preventing blood cells sticking together and forming a potentially dangerous blood clot. He was taking this in conjunction with other medications, as well as aspirin, for several years.
Clopidogrel Prescription Error
He received his medication monthly in a blister pack from the Forshaw Pharmacy in Liverpool. As part of the case, the pharmacy stated that they had received a phone call from our client’s doctor removing Clopidogrel from his prescription. However, they were later unable to say who the phone call was from, nor did they have a documented note of it. A year later, our client suffered the first in a series of strokes which went on to affect his long-term health.
He was treated in hospital at the time with the appropriate platelet medication and a GP note again confirmed Clopidogrel as part of his medications.
Five months later he suffered another stroke and the treating consultant at the Roya Liverpool Hospital noted it was not on his prescription and the fact that he had not been taking it for some time ‘probably’ contributed to his last two strokes. The consultant made the pharmacist aware of the situation and a review of their records showed that Clopidogrel had been removed from our client’s prescription for over a year.
Taking Clopidogrel helps prevent blood clots if you have an increased risk of having them and so this was a serious medication error.
Medication Error in Pharmacy
Commenting on the case, Medical Negligence Solicitor, Daniel Phelps, said:
“Often with prescription and dispensing errors we see minor side effects from the wrong dosage or the wrong prescription, but in this case we see quite clearly the very serious impact of not giving a particular antiplatelet medicine has had on our client.”
“Prior to this our client was living independently, enjoyed socialising and walking. He was a keen darts player and liked to read his paper and visit the bookmakers, now he is reliant on others for his care, needs assistance with feeding and has lost the use of his whole left-hand side.”
“In this case we argued a breach of duty of care. Our client trusted his pharmacist, his tablets came in blister packs and when you're on a lot of different medicines a blister pack (sometimes called a dosette box) can be useful, but at the same time people rely on the chemist to get it right.”
“In this case we were able to successfully prove that no responsible pharmacist would not follow up or challenge his discontinuation of antiplatelet therapy.”
Double checking medication and prescriptions
With news that patients may soon be able to get prescription medicines directly from pharmacists, medical negligence solicitors are once again warning people to double check their prescriptions.
Whilst the Government proposals are aimed at reducing pressure on GPs it does put pressure on pharmacists who will be dispensing for common conditions including earache, sore throat, and urinary tract infections without needing the approval of a GP.
“As always check your dosage, check you have the right tablets and it’s always better to err on the side of caution and if you have any concerns check with your GP or the chemist,” added Daniel.
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