By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 13th January 2023. If you lose blood following an accident, a blood transfusion might be required. They can also be used in the treatment of medical conditions such as haemophilia. While most transfusions are successful, being given the wrong blood type or a contaminated batch of blood can cause significant problems. If that’s the case, you might want to seek damages for that suffering. In this article, we’ll look at how to claim for blood transfusion negligence.
Advice.co.uk can help if you’re considering making a medical negligence claim. Our specialists offer a telephone-based consultation where they’ll go through your case with you. They will also provide free advice on the claims process.
If your claim has a reasonable chance of success, you could be referred to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. If they take on your case, it could be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.
To discuss your claim with us right away, please call 0161 696 9685. Alternatively, if you’d like more details about claiming for an incompatible blood transfusion, please read the rest of this guide.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Making A Blood Transfusion Negligence Claim
- Blood Transfusion Negligence Compensation Calculator
- Types Of Damages For Bloodborne Illnesses
- What Is Blood Transfusion Negligence?
- Types Of Blood Transfusion Negligence
- Causes Of Blood Transfusion Negligence
- What Is The Most Frequent Disease Complication Of Blood Transfusions?
- Claims For Complications Caused By The Wrong Rhesus RF Factor
- Incompatible Blood Transfusions
- Contaminated Blood Transfusions
- Make A No Win No Fee Blood Transfusion Negligence Claim
- Contact Our Specialist Team
- Related Guides
- Contaminated Blood Transfusion Statistics
- FAQs On Medical Negligence Claims
A Guide On Making A Blood Transfusion Negligence Claim
If you are injured and lose a lot of blood, one of the options during emergency treatment is to give you a blood transfusion. They can also be used during cancer care and to treat conditions like sickle cell disease. To keep the risks as low as possible, donor blood is checked for infections such as HIV or hepatitis. However, even with safety protocols in place, mistakes can happen.
If you suffer because of negligence during a blood transfusion, you could be entitled to seek compensation. In this guide, we’ll review what sorts of negligence could entitle you to claim. We will also look at compensation amounts that might be paid. Some of the reasons you may be eligible to pursue a claim include:
- If you contract an infection because of the transfusion.
- Where you suffer because you receive the wrong blood type.
- If a transfusion takes place in error.
We’ll review these and other types of negligence later on in this guide.
Solicitors Who Deal With Medical Negligence – Time Limits And More
In a healthcare setting, all patients are owed a duty of care. This means that medical professionals involved in your care need to provide it to a correct standard, including if you are having a blood transfusion. Patients who have suffered unnecessary harm because of contaminated blood transfusions might be eligible to claim compensation if the duty of care was breached.
Solicitors who deal with medical negligence could help you gather evidence. They will have specialist knowledge of the medical negligence claims process and be able to guide you through claiming.
Hospital Negligence Claims Time Limits
Claims for contaminated blood transfusions must be started within the hospital negligence claims time limit. The Limitation Act 1980 sets this as typically three years after the unnecessary harm due to having a blood transfusion occurred. However, in some circumstances, a suspension is put on the time limit. These include:
- Those under the age of 18 cannot start a claim themselves. The time limit is suspended until their 18th birthday. However, a litigation friend could start a hospital negligence claim on their behalf at any point.
- Some that suffer due to hospital negligence may lack the mental capacity to start a claim. A litigation friend could start a claim at any point on their behalf. However, should a person who suffered unnecessary harm due to having a blood transfusion regain their capacity, they will have three years from the date it was determined that capacity was regained to start their claim.
Call our advisors for more information on how solicitors who deal with medical negligence could support your claim.
Let’s now take a look at what level of compensation could be paid for blood transfusion injuries. In our compensation calculator table, we have used data from the Judicial College Guidelines. This document is accessed by legal professionals when valuing injuries.
The figures we’ve displayed are known as general damages. This is the compensation that aims to cover any pain, suffering or loss of amenity that results from your injuries. Although we have supplied example amounts, the best way to get a more accurate estimate is to let one of our advisors review your claim. That’s because no two cases are the same, so the figures shown below are just for guidance.
|Non-traumatic damage to digestive system||Severe (i)||£38,430 to|
|Injuries that result in severe toxicosis leading to vomiting, fever and acute pain. Hospitalisation will be required for up to a few weeks with some symptoms having an affect on work and life enjoyment in the future.|
|Kidney||Severe (a)||£169,400 to|
|Permanent and serious damage to or loss of both kidneys.|
|Kidney||Significant (b)||Up to £63,980||Where injuries cause a serious ris of future urinary tract infection.|
|Psychological||Severe (a)||£54,830 to £115,730||Resuliting in a very poor prognosis.|
|Psychological||Moderately severe (b)||£19,070 to £54,830||Resulting in a more optimistic prognosis.|
|Psychological||Moderate (c)||£5,860 to £19,070||Resulting in a good prognosis.|
Within the claims process, you’ll need a medical review. That’s because you have to demonstrate the exact extent of your suffering. The assessment will be carried out by a medical specialist who is independent of the case. If you work with a lawyer from our panel, they can usually book local appointments.
During your meeting, the specialist will try to determine how you’ve suffered. They’ll also try to ascertain whether you’ll continue to suffer in the future. They will use several methods to achieve this. You’ll be examined, asked questions, and your medical notes will be reviewed.
Types Of Damages For Bloodborne Illnesses
When you incur expenses or costs that are caused by your injuries, you could ask for ‘special damages to be paid as well. Once again, these will be different in each case, but your claim could include:
- Travel expenses. During your recovery, you may need to visit hospitals, pharmacies or GP surgeries. If that’s the case, you could add any fuel costs, transport fares or parking costs to your claim.
- Medical costs. Although the NHS will treat you for free, you could still incur medical costs. For example, your claim could include the cost of prescriptions, services not provided by the NHS and over the counter medication.
- Care costs. If you need help with daily activities while recovering, you could claim for the cost of your care. For instance, an hourly rate might be calculated to cover the time a relative spent supporting you with cooking and cleaning.
- Lost income. Taking time off work during your recovery could reduce your income. If that’s the case, you could claim back any relevant losses.
- Future lost income. If your ability to continue working is adversely affected in the future, you could claim for future lost earnings. Your age, salary and job opportunities will all be considered.
- Adaptations to your home. Where you’re left with a disability, making changes around your home or in your vehicle could make coping easier. If that’s the case, you could ask for those costs to be included in your claim.
What Is Blood Transfusion Negligence?
Making a compensation claim following blood transfusion negligence will require you to prove two things. Firstly, you’ll need to show that the level of care you received during your transfusion fell below the standard expected of the profession- this is known as a breach of duty of care. Then you would also need to demonstrate that, as a direct result of the negligence, you were made ill or sustained an injury.
Proving these things can be quite tricky, and you may need medical evidence to support your allegations. That’s why we believe it’s best to have a medical negligence solicitor on your side. Using their experience, they’ll know what evidence is needed and how to obtain it.
Types Of Blood Transfusion Negligence
Although they don’t happen frequently, mistakes do sometimes occur where the patient is given the wrong blood type. This may lead to an incompatibility reaction. These can cause kidney damage which might be long term and could even be fatal. Where compatibility reactions occur, they should be spotted during observation and treated immediately. If they are not, you could claim for any suffering that results.
Another type of negligence involving blood transfusions is where a patient receives a transfusion that is not necessary. This can be the result of a misdiagnosis or where patient records are mixed up. Even if you have no physical symptoms caused by the transfusion, the very thought of having an unnecessary invasive procedure could lead to psychological issues, which you may be able to claim for.
Causes Of Blood Transfusion Negligence
Let’s now look at the circumstances that could make you eligible to seek compensation. A claim for blood transfusion negligence may be possible if:
- A blood transfusion during your treatment led to you contracting HIV, Hepatitis A, B or C or another bloodborne illness because of contaminated blood.
- The blood given during a transfusion did not match your blood type.
- The transfusion was carried out unnecessarily.
As we have said already, you can’t simply claim compensation because of mistakes made during the blood transfusion process. You will also need evidence to show that you have suffered. Therefore, it is important to receive medical attention for any subsequent injuries, including any psychological problems, that result. You could use medical records from your GP or hospital to show the extent of your suffering.
What Is The Most Frequent Disease Complication Of Blood Transfusions?
Here is a list of some of the complications that can result from blood transfusions:
- Acute haemolytic transfusion reactions. These are reactions to be given the wrong blood type or RF factor.
- Infective shock. Where the transfused blood is contaminated with a bacterial infection.
- Transfusion-related acute lung injury. Respiratory problems caused by the donor blood containing antibodies that attack the patient’s leukocytes.
- Fluid overload. Where too much fluid is added too quickly. This can result in respiratory failure.
- Allergic reactions or anaphylaxis. Where the patient’s antibodies target proteins found in the donor blood.
If you believe you’ve suffered because of medical negligence during a blood transfusion, we could help you claim. Our team will review your claim with you to see if it is suitable. Where there is a reasonable chance that your claim will be successful, we could connect you with a lawyer from our panel. Their work will be carried out on a No Win No Fee basis if your case is accepted.
Claims For Complications Caused By The Wrong Rhesus RF Factor
Sometimes, red blood cells contain a protein called RhD. That means that all blood is either Rh-positive or Rh-negative. This is based on whether the RhD protein is present.
When a transfusion is required, the donor blood should be checked to ensure the Rh matches the patient’s blood. If the wrong type is given, the body’s immune system can start making antibodies against the Rh transfused. When the antibodies attack the transfused blood, it can cause serious problems.
Incompatible Blood Transfusions
If you are blood group A, you should receive blood group A during a transfusion. If you don’t, you are likely to suffer the type of incompatibility reaction discussed earlier. Again, the doctor who is treating you should make the necessary checks on your blood type prior to treatment. Furthermore, the donor blood should be crossmatched to ensure it is suitable for you.
If you have suffered because you were given incompatible blood during a transfusion, please get in touch. We’ll check the viability of your case and explain your options. If the case appears suitable, we could connect you with a lawyer from our panel to take a look and to see if they are willing to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Contaminated Blood Transfusions
Being given blood that is contaminated with infections like HIV or hepatitis shouldn’t happen because of screening procedures. If you do suffer as a result of infected blood, you could claim compensation. Although infections of this type are fairly rare these days, people are still suffering from problems caused by infected blood during the 1970s.
What was the contaminated blood scandal?
In the 70s and 80s, blood was given to patients suffering from haemophilia. It was infected with hepatitis and HIV. It was caused by a new type of treatment designed to reduce how long patients needed to stay in hospital. To improve blood clotting during transfusions, an agent called Factor VIII was added.
Because the UK struggled to keep up with the demand for factor VII, blood was imported from the USA. However, a lot of the donations came from drug users and prisoners who were paid for their blood. This group was at higher risk of hepatitis and HIV.
HIV had not been diagnosed at the time, and hepatitis was not fully understood. Therefore, the practice of importing blood continued until the mid-80s. When HIV was diagnosed as a blood-borne infection, donations were heat-treated to kill any infections present.
For some people, the prospect of large legal fees may put them off claiming compensation with the help of a solicitor. However, our panel of medical negligence lawyers provide a No Win No Fee service, which means you won’t be asked to pay them upfront. That means that as well as benefiting from specialist legal representation, you may find the claims process a lot less stressful.
Before a claim is accepted, a solicitor will need to review its viability. If they decide to represent you, they will supply you with a contract. This is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA tells you what your solicitor needs to achieve before you have to pay them. Put simply, they must win compensation for you before they are paid. This means that you won’t be asked to pay them anything upfront while the claim is ongoing or in the event that your claim is unsuccessful.
Where a positive outcome occurs, a success fee will be paid to your solicitor. This is shown in the CFA as a percentage of your compensation amount. This is the percentage of your settlement figure that will be retained by your solicitor to cover their costs. To protect you from overcharging, success fees are legally capped.
Contact Our Specialist Team
We are fast approaching the end of this article on claiming for a blood transfusion reaction caused by negligence. If you would now like to discuss your case with our team, here is how to contact us:
- Call the dedicated advice line on 0161 696 9685 to talk with an advisor.
- Complete our enquiry form so that we can arrange to call you back.
- Ask an online specialist for advice in the live chat option to the bottom right of this screen.
Thanks for reading this article about blood transfusion negligence claims. In this section, you’ll find some useful resources that might help you further.
Blood Services – Details of how the NHS Blood and Transplant service use blood donations.
Dealing With Trauma – Advice from a UK charity on how to cope following a traumatic event.
Blood Regulation – A government portal listing the different ways in which blood services are regulated.
NHS Negligence Claims – Free advice on how to claim against the NHS for any suffering that results from negligence.
Surgical Mistakes – This guide shows when you might be able to claim compensation following errors during surgery.
Pre-Existing Conditions – Advice on how the claims process works if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Other Medical Negligence Guides
- Medical Negligence Compensation Claims
- Care Home Negligence Claims
- Pharmacy Prescription Error Claims
- Optician Negligence Claims
- Botched Derma And Lip Filler Claims
- Wrongful Death Caused By Medical Negligence
- Dental Negligence Compensation Claims
- Claiming Compensation For Hospital-acquired Infections
- Medication Errors At Nursing Homes
- Frequently Asked Questions On Medical Negligence Cases
- How Much Compensation For Dental Negligence?
- How To Claim Compensation For An Operation Gone Wrong
- Reporting Negligence In A Nursing Home
- How To Make A Claim Against The NHS
- How To Prove A Medical Negligence Claim
- Death In A Care Home – How To Claim Compensation
- Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims Against The NHS
- Making A GP Negligence Claim
- Walk-in Centre Negligence Claims
- Birth Injury Claims
- Misdiagnosed Stroke Claims
- What Circumstances Are Classed As Medical Negligence?
Contaminated Blood Transfusion Statistics
As we are nearly at the end of this guide, we have provided some statistics below relating to blood transfusions. According to NHS Blood and Transplant, in 2019/20, there were:
- 416,381 new blood donor registrations.
- 131,825 new blood donations.
The highest number of new donor registrations in England came from the South East with 72,155. This region also accounted for the total number of new donations with 21,628.
FAQs On Medical Negligence Claims
To finish off this article, we have answered some common questions relating to medical negligence claims.
What Does Duty Of Care Mean?
When a medical professional becomes responsible for a patient’s treatment, there is a legal obligation to protect the patient’s wellbeing. This is called the duty of care. Where a duty of care exists, any negligent act or omissions could lead to a patient suffering injuries during treatment.
What Is Causation?
Causation is a legal term used in medical negligence claims. It means that you must prove that the injury you are claiming for was caused as a direct result of medical negligence.
Thanks for reading our guide to blood transfusion negligence claims.
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