GP Surgery prescription error fatality case settles

3rd March 2021 – Our client, Mr H, the son and Executor of a 92 year old lady from Margate, Kent, brought a case in respect of the death of this late mother following a prescription error.The deceased was a longstanding patient of Bethesda Medical Centre, Margate who had prescribed her medications for many years, including a blood thinner, Apixaban, which the deceased was prescribed in July 2017 following a heart attack.

Sadly, the deceased was diagnosed with Dementia and moved into a care home in March 2019 when her condition had declined to such a point that she could no longer be looked after by her family.

As part of that move her medications had to be re-ordered so as to be delivered to her new accommodation. Her care home provided a complete list of medications to her GP surgery which included the Apixiban.

However, the Apixiban was missed off the list by GP staff when requesting her medications from the pharmacy. This was not picked up on and the deceased went without blood thinners for 30 weeks causing her to suffer a stroke. She was admitted to hospital but passed away some 11 days later.

Given the straightforward nature of the case an early Letter of Claim was submitted to the GP surgery with an offer of settlement in a bid to avoid costly litigation. Bethesda Medical Centre, represented by NHS Resolution under the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice, responded with a full and frank early admission confirming that they had failed to list the Apixiban as a repeat prescription on the deceased’s change of accommodation, that the deceased went without blood thinners for 30 weeks in consequence and that it was this, on the balance of probabilities, that caused her stroke and eventual death.

Negotiations then took place and the claim settled swiftly for an undisclosed sum.

Francesca Beach, Assistant specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at Fairweathers Solicitors LLP, who had conduct of this case, commented “I am glad we were able to bring this claim to a conclusion in a timely, sensible manner. The case highlights the dangers of simple human error in the prescription of important medications. I am pleased that Bethesda Medical Centre conducted their own internal investigation into these events alongside our case and understand that they have introduced changes to reduce the risk of a similar recurrence in the future. Although it can never put matters right my client is glad that they have made their practices safer to hopefully prevent these tragic events happening to another family.’’

If you or a member of your family believes you have a claim then please do not hesitate to phone us free on 0800 999 5585, request a call back or submit your case details.