Advising with empathy and experience

Award following inappropriate prescription of Mercilon.

Richard Wood of the CNCI team has secured compensation of £32,000 for a woman who needed a liver transplant after she was inappropriately prescribed the oral contraceptive pill, Mercilon.

Our client and her partner had been trying for a child and had unfortunately suffered two miscarriages in the process. It emerged that she had an irregular period cycle which meant she bled much more than would be considered usual.

Her GP indicated this may be affecting her pregnancies. She was prescribed the contraceptive pill Mercilon in an attempt to regulate her menstrual cycle. Unfortunately this did not work, in fact over the next few weeks she started to feel very weak and unwell. Her legs were swollen and her weight had increased significantly in the space of 2 weeks. She also had a yellow tint in her eyes.

Her GP eventually referred her to A&E as a precaution where she was told that her symptoms were a side effect of Mercilon, the contraceptive pill. The A&E department did some blood and liver function tests and our client was told that she should drink lots of water and she would feel fine in a few days.

Six weeks later our client began feeling extreme pain in her shoulder, chest and face. It was so severe that she thought she was having a heart attack. Our client arrived at West Middlesex Hospital A&E department by ambulance and was given numerous tests. She was told she had jaundice and her liver may not be functioning properly. Our client stayed at West Middlesex Hospital for 2 weeks until she was transferred to Kings College Hospital where she underwent further tests.

Our client was told that a blood clot in the hepatic vein had damaged her liver, and now only 25% of it was working properly. She was devastated when the hospital told her she would need a liver transplant. A suitable donor was found and, fortunately, the transplant was successful. Our client was in hospital over Christmas while she recovered.

During the claim it emerged that it was inappropriate to prescribe our client Mercilon, as there were much safer alternatives.

Despite the transplant being successful our client’s life has been dramatically affected. Her life expectancy has been reduced, her medication makes her more susceptible to skin cancer and she has pain in her hips and legs on a regular basis. Speaking of the settlement Richard Wood said "Our client was left profoundly ill as a result of being prescribed an inappropriate contraceptive pill. Although she has made a good recovery her health will continue to be compromised. I am pleased that this award goes some way to compensate our client for this very distressing episode".