Case study: prescription error leads to £60,000 compensation

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Medical negligence claim following an allergic reaction to medication

Prescription errors are unfortunately  known to be the cause of a number of health problems in the UK. According to the General Medical Council, up to 5% of prescriptions could contain some kind of mistake.

One serious error that can occur is prescribing a patient medicine which will cause an allergic reaction.

Because most of us trust healthcare providers to have checked our medical records before prescribing medication, we assume they won’t give us a drug known to trigger an allergy.

Medical negligence partner Claire Hurrell recently helped a man with a documented penicillin allergy to claim compensation after he suffered from anaphylaxis and other symptoms caused by a negligent amoxicillin prescription.

Following the conclusion of his case, the man has kindly agreed to let us share his story to help those with similar problems understand more about prescription allergies and medical negligence.


Our client, Mr A, who had a known allergy to penicillin, visited his GP in October 2013 after feeling unwell with a painful chest and headache. He asked his GP for an examination and was prescribed amoxicillin, which contains penicillin.

Our client took the capsules as prescribed and shortly after, developed anaphylaxis and began to feel tingling in/around his lips. He also had difficulty speaking. In addition, he began to experience uncontrollable itchiness, which caused him to scratch his body, leading to severe lesions. Soon after, our client’s face and tongue began to swell and he found himself unable to breathe.

He was admitted to hospital for anaphylactic shock and has since developed post-traumatic stress disorder. He has also gone on to develop panic disorder and recurrent depressive disorder of moderate severity.

We sent a letter to the client’s GP explaining his injuries and losses. In response, the doctor offered to settle the claim without admitting liability. The GP subsequently admitted that giving our client the wrong prescription had been an avoidable mistake, but denied that this could have caused him a psychiatric injury. In response, we showed through evidence from independent psychiatric experts that our client had in fact developed psychiatric injury due to the GP’s negligence. The defendant then admitted responsibility for this and the case was settled out of court for £60,000, which will help our client get the support he needs.




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