Blood Transfusion Compensation Claim Solicitor
Blood transfusions can be a lifesaving treatment, but they can also sometimes go wrong.
If you or a loved one have suffered from negligent treatment as a result of a blood transfusion, the results can be devastating.
Blood transfusions are generally very safe procedures with around 3 million taking place each year in the UK. Healthcare staff are trained to the highest standards and the blood given is extensively tested and matched. Nevertheless, there are occasions when mistakes are made, and when they are they can have serious, even life-threatening consequences.
If you believe that your blood transfusion was carried out negligently and that you have been harmed as a result, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors, our medical negligence experts are ready to help you. We will assess your case, and if you have a claim we will be there with you every step of the way, helping you to claim what you need to get you back onto the road to recovery.
What compensation is payable for a negligent blood transfusion?
Each case is different, but generally speaking the amount of compensation payable will depend on the extent of the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the negligence, and any costs or financial losses that you have suffered as a result.
Your solicitor will assess your claim and will ensure that they have a full understanding of the impact that the negligent transfusion has had on you. When calculating the amount that is reasonable to award for general damages we will assess your medical report which details your injuries, prognosis and any recommendations for treatment plan.
You may also be able to claim for special damages if you have been left with out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the negligent transfusion. This can include prescription and treatment costs and loss of earnings if applicable – your claims expert will be able to advise you as to what you can expect under the circumstances of your case.
Do I have a claim?
In order to make a claim for medical negligence, including blood transfusion errors, it is necessary to prove two main points.
1. Firstly, it must be demonstrated that the care that you received fell below a reasonable standard expected from a trained healthcare professional; that there was a breach of duty.
2. That the injury you suffered was directly related to the breach of care and did not occur as a result of the existing underlying condition. In other words, it is necessary to prove that the injury was avoidable and was caused as a direct result of negligence.
If you are unclear as to whether what happened to you is grounds for making a claim, get in touch. One of our experienced and approachable medical negligence claims specialists will be happy to advise you.
How long do I have to make a claim?
In the UK, it is important to be aware that there is a strict time limit of three years in place on making a personal injury claim, and proceedings must be commenced within this time frame. However, with claims of this nature, it is often the case that you only become aware of the negligence after the event has taken place; when this is the case the three-year time limit begins from the date of knowledge.
If you are wondering whether you still have time to make a claim for what happened to you, speak to us – one of our experts will quickly be able to advise you as to whether you are able to make a claim. The sooner you seek help to begin your claim, the better the chance of a favourable outcome.
What is a blood transfusion?
A blood transfusion is a relatively simple procedure in which donated blood is taken from one person and given to another who needs it. The donated blood is usually separated into red cells, platelets and plasma which are then used to treat different conditions.
The blood is given through a drip which is placed into a vein in the arm – the amount of blood given will depend on the patient. A straightforward blood transfusion can take from between one and four hours. When the transfusion is completed, the drip is removed and the patient should have their vital signs checked.
Blood transfusions are generally very safe – it is important to remember that it is very rare that errors occur.
Who needs blood transfusions?
Blood transfusions are vital treatments that save or improve the lives of thousands of people daily. Although they are commonly associated with replacing lost blood following an accident, surgery or childbirth, there are also a range of health conditions that require blood transfusions.
Transfusions are also given to people with blood disorders, such as thalassaemia or sickle cell anaemia, as well as to people who are severely anaemic. Illnesses such as haemophilia, chronic liver disease, sepsis or bone marrow failure may also call for a blood transfusion.
Risks and Complications of a blood transfusion
While most blood transfusions are carried out without an issue, there are mistakes that can be made, either due to clinical or administerial negligence that can have a serious and severe effect on the patient.
- Contaminated Blood
Before a person can donate blood, they are screened for anything that might have put them at risk of infection. After donation, blood is tested in a laboratory to ensure it does not contain HIV, hepatitis or any other blood borne infection, or parasites before it can be approved for use. It must then be stored correctly and kept sterile before being administered to the patient.
The risk of catching a virus from the blood received during a blood transfusion is very low. However, if there is a failure at any point in the process and a patient is given contaminated blood, they may end up contracting a blood borne infection, or developing sepsis. Either of these occurrences can be life threatening, and if it is found that negligence is the cause, it may be possible to make a claim.
- Incorrect blood type
It is immensely important that a patient is given the correct type of blood that matches their own, and they should be tested immediately prior to the transfusion taking place to confirm this. A patient will also wear a wristband showing their blood type, and this must be checked before every bag of blood that is transfused. A failure to make these checks, an error in the labelling of the blood, or failing to correctly identity the patient before the transfusion takes place can result in the patient receiving the wrong blood type.
When this happens, the patient may suffer a haemolytic transfusion reaction (HTR), which is where their immune system responds by attacking the donated blood cells. This may happen immediately, or it may take up to a week to occur.
Symptoms of a HTR may include:
- dizziness or fainting
- blood in the urine or dark urine
- back pain
- hives or itching of the skin.
This can cause damage to the kidneys. If you have been given the wrong type of blood during a blood transfusion it is very likely that this could be considered a result of medical negligence.
- Fluid overload
There is a risk that if too much blood is transfused, or if the process happens to quickly, that the body will struggle to cope. This can result in swelling of the body, dangerously high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and ultimately heart failure as the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body. this tends to affect people with serious health conditions, low body weight and the elderly, so it is important that steps are taken to avoid fluid overload in these patients. If you or a relative have been affected by fluid overload as a result of a transfusion being administered too quickly, it may be possible to make a claim for medical negligence.
Other errors relating to a blood transfusion include:
- carrying out a blood transfusion unnecessarily
- administering a blood transfusion to the wrong patient
- errors caused due to lack of care or attention.
What are the consequences of a blood transfusion error?
The consequences arising from a blood transfusion error can be serious and long lasting, depending on the circumstances. Organ failure, breathing problems and psychological issues can result, and in the case of patients who are given contaminated blood (for instance with hepatitis or HIV), the consequences can be fatal.
If you have suffered unnecessarily following a blood transfusion, it is important to take expert legal advice to find out if you have grounds to make a claim for compensation. We do not believe that anyone should be left to suffer after a medical error has occurred and we will do everything that we can to get you the help that you need.
Why choose us?
If you have suffered as a result of a contaminated or negligent blood transfusions, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors can help. We specialise in medical negligence claims, and we understand what you are going through and how to get you the help that you need in order to move on. We have extensive experience of helping our clients to get the compensation they deserve, and our reputation for effective forward-thinking solutions make us the first choice for many clients throughout England and Wales.
To discuss your circumstances and to find out if what happened to you is grounds for making a claim for compensation, please get in touch with us today - we will be happy to help.
Established in Manchester in 1997, we are a leading specialist medical negligence, accident at work and personal injury law firm acting for claimants nationwide.
Our expert medical negligence solicitors regularly act for clients across Greater Manchester including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham and Whitefield.
Our team of recognised Blood Transfusion Negligence Solicitors can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.