Hospital Dehydration Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by hospital dehydration, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything if your injury 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 an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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 we can help you
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.