Hospital Nurse gave the Wrong Medicine

Is it possible for me to make a compensation claim on behalf of my daughter because a hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine?

Before making a claim because a hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine to your daughter, it has to be established that your daughter actually sustained an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition due to the medication error, which was sufficiently significant that it was entered into her medical history and remedial medical action had to be taken to reverse the effect of the incorrect drug.

Without there being a significant ‘adverse effect’, it will not be possible to make a claim for a nursing medication error and, furthermore, it may not have been the nurse´s fault that your daughter was given the wrong medicine – for example it could have been due to a technical error or an administrative mix-up – and an investigation will have to be conducted to determine how the medication error occurred.

Therefore, your first course of action should be to speak with a solicitor and discuss the consequences of the medication error to establish that your daughter is eligible to claim compensation because a hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine. Thereafter, as there is no justifiable defence against a compensation claim for a nursing medication error, the procedure for recovering compensation on behalf of your daughter would run similar to the following:-

The solicitor would write to every person who may have possibly been involved in your daughter´s treatment to find out how the hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine and to establish negligence at a specific point in the chain of events. It may the nurse who was administering the medicine to your daughter made an error due to carelessness or negligence, but it is a dangerous assumption to make and – if wrong – would harm the credibility of your claim for a nurse giving the wrong medicine.

Once the relevant medical history has been received by your solicitor, it will be reviewed by an independent medical specialist. He or she will determine where the error in your daughter´s treatment was made and provide your solicitor with the evidence of negligence required to support a ‘Letter of Claim’.

Before the ‘Letter of Claim’ is sent to the hospital, it will be necessary to have you approved as a ‘next friend’ to represent your daughter. This is a simple procedure handled in the District Court provided that the judge agrees a compensation claim for a nurse giving the wrong medicine is in your daughter´s best interests and that you are prepared to accept the financial consequences if the legal action is unsuccessful.

Thereafter, the ‘Letter of Claim’ is sent to the hospital at which the hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine to your daughter. With the evidence of negligence supporting the letter, liability for the injuries your daughter suffered should be acknowledge promptly, and your solicitor will negotiate an appropriate settlement of your daughter´s claim for a nursing medication error.

The settlement has to be approved by a judge before the claim can be fully resolved, after which it is paid into court funds until your daughter becomes a legal adult on her eighteenth birthday. Funds from the compensation settlement can be accessed if your daughter needs future medical attention related to her medication error or if you need to recover expenses you have incurred on your daughter´s behalf when making a claim for a nurse giving the wrong medicine.

The process as explained above does seem complicated at first glance, but when you speak with a solicitor about the injuries sustained by your daughter because a hospital nurse gave the wrong medicine to her, the solicitor will be able to explain the process of making a claim for a nursing medication error to you with more relevance to your daughter´s specific situation.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.