Our client, a 75 year old woman, was provided with a repeat prescription for a range of medication including Raloxifene. Unfortunately, when this prescription was filled at the Valley Pharmacy (Croydon), Arcoxia was dispensed instead of the Raloxifene.
Our client did not notice the dispensing error and took the Arcoxia tablets for around 7 days, which resulted in her passing black diarrhoea. It was then discovered that our client had been taking the wrong medication and she was seen by her GP who diagnosed an internal bleed caused by the medication.
As a consequence of that, our client’s GP advised her to stop taking Aspirin (a blood thinner) as it could exacerbate the bleed. However, the unfortunate consequence of her Aspirin being stopped was that, on 20.02.11 our client suffered a stroke (which she had been taking the Aspirin to prevent, having had a previous mini-stroke (TIA)).
Our client suffered deterioration in her functional capabilities as a result of that stroke, and required a certain amount of care from then on.
Unfortunately, our client went on to have a further stroke on 24.01.12, which resulted in a further deterioration of her condition.
Expert evidence was obtained which confirmed that, in the absence of the dispensing error, the Aspirin would not have been stopped and our client would not have suffered the strokes when she did (although she would still have suffered them at about 3 years after each one occurred).
The expert further advised that our client’s life expectancy had been reduced as a result of the timing of the strokes.
The Defendant quickly admitted breach of duty for the dispensing error, but it was some time before they confirmed their response on causation. They eventually agreed that the initial stroke had been caused by the dispensing error, but denied that the subsequent stroke or the reduced life expectancy were linked.
Settlement negotiations were entered into with a view to settling the claim in our client’s lifetime. After lengthy negotiations, a good settlement of £50,000 was achieved.
Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the claim, commented:
“The consequences arising from a simple dispensing error in this case were significant for our client and she now requires a large amount of care.
The difficulty in this case was that our expert confirmed that our client would have suffered the strokes regardless of the negligence about 3 years after they did occur, which provided a natural cut-off for claiming and resulted in a finite value.
Nevertheless, a good outcome was achieved and our client is extremely happy with the result.”