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What to do if the wrong medication was given to you as a patient

When you go to the hospital, you expect to be taken care of and you rely on healthcare workers to make the right choices for you. Most of the time, this is the kind of care that patients experience, but sometimes costly accidents happen. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of this kind of malpractice, you know that it can be seriously damaging. 

In order to move forward, the victim may need to file a legal case in order to get compensated for the accident, but taking this approach can seem overwhelming — especially if they are struggling with their health at the same time. Here are some of the best tips to help you get started. 

Patient safety includes medication administration

Before filing a case, it’s important to know what your rights are as a patient at any healthcare facility. According to the Australian Patients Association, patients’ rights include seven different components

  1. Access: This means that patients should be able to get the treatment that they need for their health concerns. 
  2. Safety: The healthcare is safe, high-quality and meets all standards. 
  3. Partnership: The patients should be able to work with their healthcare provider to make choices. 
  4. Information: The patient should be informed of their condition and have access to the information about their condition. 
  5. Privacy: The healthcare facility should protect a patient’s personal information and keep it confidential. 
  6. Respect: The patient should be treated with dignity regardless of identity. 
  7. Feedback: The patient and their family should be able to provide feedback in order to improve the quality of care and health services at the facility. 


These rights can be violated in a number of different ways, and when the process of medical administration is disturbed, patient safety and dignity are at risk.

What is a medication error?

A medication error happens when the patient does not receive the right medication, is given the medicine at the wrong time, or if the incorrect dosage is administered. Here are some other examples of medication accidents and errors: 

  1. Not monitoring the drug in the patient’s system. 
  2. Improper medication labelling. 
  3. Not communicating the medication order correctly. 

These kinds of errors are not small mistakes and can have serious consequences on the patient’s health and recovery.

How common are medication errors?

Unfortunately, medication errors are more common than you might think, so if you have been affected, you aren’t alone. According to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), National President Dr. Fei Sim reported that “Unsafe medicine practices and errors with medicine are the leading cause of avoidable harm across the world.”

PSA’s medicine safety report found that medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions each year and that half of these admissions were preventable in one form or another. By bringing forth litigation, this kind of mistake can be brought to light and help prevent future problems.

Signs of taking the wrong drug

Before beginning a case, you need to prove that a medication error actually happened. When you first discover that you were given the wrong medication, you need to take immediate action for the best chance of receiving compensation. So what are the signs of this kind of mistake? Here are some giveaways: 

  • Allergic reaction to the new medicine. 
  • An unexpected change in medication type.
  • A sudden change in time that the medication is usually administered.
  • Changes in behaviour or symptoms. 
  • New healthcare worker administering medication. 
  • Obvious poor communication between hospital staff. 
  • Administering medication without the supervision of a registered nurse.


There are other ways that medicine administration can go wrong, and sometimes the effects become obvious later. Once the victim determines that there was a medication error, immediate steps need to be made in order to make the claim easier. Documentation is one of the most important things you can do, which means proving that the mistake was made. We will get into the details of the claims process further down the road.

Is taking the wrong drug medical negligence?

There are different claims that a legal professional would advise a victim to file depending on the circumstances. In the situation of wrongful medication administration, the victim could potentially file a claim for medical negligence. 

Medication malpractice is when a doctor, nurse, or medical staff member prescribes you the wrong medicine. As a result of this error, you are harmed. This could also include the wrong dosage, the incorrect length of time for prescription or even inadequate advice. Your medic may have also misdiagnosed your condition and prescribed you the wrong medication as a result. 

Being negligent can cause immediate and prolonged harm and even make recovery from a previous health-related issue more difficult. The doctor on call may not be at fault, but even miscommunication from other healthcare workers can cause medical negligence in the form of wrongful medicine administration. 

The medical staff has a professional responsibility to care for the patient and if at any point in a patient’s care, this responsibility has been breached, there may be a case for a medical negligence claim. The healthcare worker must understand the patient’s full medical history. This includes asking important questions and understanding the whole picture. For example, the facility should be aware of any medical conditions and habits that may affect medication. This could include things like ongoing illness, pregnancy, smoking nicotine, allergies or regular medication the patient may be on.

How to make a medical negligence claim

Once the victim is aware that there was a medical error, a claim should be made as soon as possible. Every state has its own laws and regulations surrounding medical malpractice, which include:

However, your legal team will be able to guide you in the right direction according to your location. Before getting started, it’s helpful to know what to expect. Here are the steps that you will need to take in order to begin the claims process.

Gather evidence

The most important thing to remember before and during the claims process is to gather evidence. You can begin this before contacting a lawyer, but the legal team should also help you obtain the right documents. Evidence could include:

  • Initial diagnosis.
  • Any written correspondence with your medical practitioner.
  • Written allegations of clinical negligence.
  • The doctor’s corresponding response regarding the negligence.
  • Proof of resulting injuries from medical establishments.
  • Discharge reports.
  • Surgical records.
  • Prescriptions related to the medical negligence case.
  • Lab test results.


These pieces of information can help prove that you were the victim of wrongful medical administration. The more documents and professional opinions gathered, the higher the likelihood that the claim will be accepted.

Contact a legal team

As soon as you can, you should contact a legal team to receive helpful advice that can make all the difference. The victim will likely be recovering from their illness, and the medical malpractice lawyer can handle the complicated legal details. Your lawyer will collect medical records, testimonies and a third-party doctor’s opinion, they also might interview the staff involved with your misdiagnosis to prove you were a victim of medical malpractice through the wrong medication.

If a healthcare professional thinks that they are not at fault for the medication error, they may try to defend themselves against your case. This is another reason why a lawyer proves to be extremely helpful. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a medicine administration error or any other kind of medical malpractice issue, Gerard Malouf & Partners is here to help. 

Gerard Malouf & Partners is the leading no win, no fee law firm in Australia. We specialise in maximising your malpractice lawsuit compensation. We have won an excel of $4 billion for our clients and we can help you too. Reach out to a medical negligence lawyer at Gerard Malouf & Partners for a no-obligation advice consultation today.

Gerard Malouf

About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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