Hospital negligence claims over paracetamol overdoses

By Blackwater Law

Hospital beds in a corridor

A national investigation has been launched following a number of cases of overdoses from medication administered by medical professionals. In the most severe instances, patients have been left with lifelong consequences and it is likely that hospital negligence claims will ensue as a result.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch – the national NHS safety watchdog, has now launched a national investigation following a number of reports of adults with a low body weight being given too much paracetamol, directly into their bloodstream via IV drip. This follows reports of previous occurrences in earlier years, including more than 200 overdoses in 2010. It is unknown as to how many of these individuals suffered permanent damage or subsequently sought hospital negligence compensation.

Wrong medication claims

Accidental overdoses of paracetamol administered by medical professionals can have wide ranging consequences including death, or permanent damage to their liver. Those that have suffered adversely as a result, may seek a wrong medication claim in order to seek compensation for their injuries.

It is thought that most instances of wrong doses of being paracetamol being administered, arose from doctors and other medical professionals inaccurately estimating a patient’s weight and therefore the appropriate level of medication. The problem has been particularly prevalent in those with a lower weight than anticipated for their age. This has meant that what would be considered a standard dose of paracetamol, is actually excessive for them. In addition, confusion has arisen from medication being in milligrams versus millilitres and therefore the incorrect amount has been given to the individual.

Hospital compensation claims

Whilst the investigation is ongoing, it is hoped that further measures may be put into place to avoid the scope for future medication errors and to minimise the impact of suffering on patients. This may also help to reduce the number of claims for compensation from hospitals. Paracetamol is one of the most widely used pain relief medications and therefore it is essential that steps are in place to avoid incorrect doses being given to patients and further complications and suffering occurring as a result.


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