Home > Medication related litigation in Ireland: a 6-year review.

McCullagh, Mark and Slattery, Dubhfeasa (2019) Medication related litigation in Ireland: a 6-year review. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 85, (9), pp. 2155-2162.

External website: https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/1...

AIMS: The primary aims of the study were to identify those medications most frequently associated with clinical litigation in Ireland and to quantify the cost of such litigation. Secondary aims were to identify where in the medication-use process claims were most likely to arise, the medication incident types involved and the primary injury alleged.

METHODS: The National Incident Management System (NIMS) for incident and claims management was searched to identify all medication-related claims finalised from 2011 to 2016 (inclusive). The physical case files were obtained and additional data not available on NIMS was extracted in order to build a detailed picture of the incident and subsequent claim.

RESULTS: The search identified 79 relevant claims, of which 48 closed with a payment to the plaintiff. These 48 claims involved 54 medications. Medication groups identified included general anaesthetics (n = 7), opioids (n = 6), penicillins, antithrombotics and local anaesthetics (all n = 5). The errors alleged occurred exclusively at the administration (58%) and prescribing (42%) stages of the medication-use process. Medication incident types included wrong dose/strength (n = 17), wrong drug (n = 7) and adverse drug reaction (n = 6). The most commonly pleaded primary injuries were allergic reaction (n = 9), deterioration in clinical status (n = 9) and post-traumatic stress disorder (n = 8). The median total cost of these claims was €60 991, including median damages of €33 858.

CONCLUSIONS: This study links data on medication incidents, actual harm to patients and litigation costs. Thus, it presents a comprehensive picture of the consequences of medication error.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances, Opioid
September 2019
Page Range
pp. 2155-2162

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