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The Independent Online
One in four negligence claims settled against GPs are due to errors in prescribing, monitoring, or administering drugs, according to a survey. Just under half of the cases lead to permanent damage to patients, including scarring, nerve damage, or stroke. Eighteen per cent of cases resulted in death, stillbirth, or a termination of pregnancy.

The Medical Defence Union, which conducted the survey over a six year period said the total cost of the claims was about pounds 3.5m; 65 per cent of them were settled for less than pounds 10,000 but five of the claims were for more than pounds 100,000. The most common errors were wrong doses, contra-indicated medication, and administration errors. In the survey of 21,500 claims against GP members, 790 resulted in damages being paid to patients, and 196 of these were made because of drug errors. The results are given in Medication Errors, a new booklet published by the MDU.

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