Compensation secured for man who collapsed after medication mix-up

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Michele Benjamin, a chartered legal executive in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal, has secured a significant amount of compensation for a man who collapsed after he was given the wrong medication.

After undergoing a discectomy (surgery to release pressure on the spinal nerves), Mr M was prescribed oral morphine and Gabapentin – a drug used to treat nerve pain.

As instructed, he took two pills just before going to bed. The following morning, Mr M woke up feeling very drowsy and with a severe headache. He experienced unbearable pain in his right leg, and a burning feeling down the right side of his body.

He took some of his morphine to try and ease the pain. The next thing Mr M remembers is waking up with his daughter handing him his telephone. He spoke to a lady at the pharmacy who asked him to confirm the medication he had taken. He read the box which stated Gabapentin. She then asked him to check the name on the foil of the pill packaging. It was then he discovered he had been incorrectly given Pregabalin, a medication usually used to treat epilepsy.

He was not told to not take any other medication, and so a few hours later he took another dose of morphine to try and stop the intense pain. As a result of the combination, he suddenly collapsed.

His son, who has autism, found his father collapsed and was so scared that he had panic attack. Mr M vaguely remembers his wife coming home and taking him to A&E.

He was sent home and advised to rest until the medication had worn off. He then spent the next few days in bed recovering.

Michele comments: “This incident was unfortunate and caused Mr M several days of unnecessary pain and suffering. If the pharmacy had been more diligent and prescribed the correct drug and had also warned him not to take any other medicine, then the client would not have suffered such unfavourable side effects. Although compensation does not rectify the hospital’s error, it at least acknowledges that a serious mistake was made and that more care needs to be taken to avoid similar situations from occurring in the future.”


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