Hospital Dehydration Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by hospital dehydration we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered hospital dehydration and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming hospital dehydration compensation:

Introduction

It is estimated that one in eight elderly care home residents admitted to hospital are suffering from dehydration through lack of fluids.

According to a study commissioned by NHS Improving Quality (now NHS England Sustainable Improvement Team), as many as 1,000 hospital patients every month may die needlessly from acute kidney injury (AKI) due to severe dehydration.

Simple steps such as ensuring patients have enough to drink and doctors reviewing their medication would prevent them becoming ill. Dehydration claims are often a clinical negligence matter.

How do patients become dehydrated?

Dehydration occurs where a person's fluid output exceeds their fluid input. For example if patients lose fluid - through prolonged vomiting or diarrhoea, or through high fevers causing sweating - they are likely to become dehydrated if that lost fluid is not replaced.

What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?

A person with dehydration may display a number of symptoms; decreased urine output and a dry mouth are an early indication. Muscle cramps, nausea and light-headedness are also common signs. If dehydration is severe a patient may become confused and weak and may eventually fall into a coma.

Proper standards of care in residential homes and hospitals should ensure that these signs are noticed and treated quickly to prevent deterioration of the condition.

Although mild to moderate dehydration in older people may difficult to detect, it can be confirmed by simple tests to measure the level of sodium and other electrolytes in the blood. These should be carried out where dehydration is suspected.

How is dehydration treated?

Dehydration may be treated by simply ensuring a patient drinks plenty of fluid to replace that which has been lost. If a patient is too ill or weak to drink, fluids and electrolytes may be administered intravenously (IV) through a drip.

Care home staff and medical professionals have a duty of care to ensure that residents and patients are given sufficient fluids to prevent dehydration, or to rehydrate where the condition has already presented.

What happens if a patient's dehydration is left untreated?

Dehydration may lead to high concentrations of sodium in the blood, a condition known as hypernatraemia. Some drugs and hormonal conditions may also increase the level of sodium in the blood.

Patients may develop a condition known as acute kidney injury (AKI). Known as "the silent killer" it may go unnoticed by medical staff. AKI causes a loss of kidney function and can progress very quickly.

Although older people are particularly vulnerable, younger patients may also be affected, with one in 25 of all hospital inpatients under the age of 40 developing the condition.

Patients who survive AKI may be left with permanent health problems and the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Around 5-10% of patients never regain full renal function, and may require lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Can I claim for medical negligence?

Whether in a care home, NHS or private hospital, keeping patients hydrated is the most basic requirement of good healthcare practice.

If that basic care has fallen below standard and resulted in the patient becoming ill through dehydration, then a claim may be brought for medical negligence.

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything if your hospital dehydration claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a hospital dehydration injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my hospital dehydration claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my hospital dehydration claim?

If your hospital dehydration claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Hospital dehydration FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor