Blood Transfusion Claims

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Blood Transfusion Claims

If a blood transfusion goes wrong, it can have potentially life-threatening consequences for you. Should this happen, it is vital that you are able to access expert legal support to ensure that you can claim the compensation you deserve.

The team at JMW Solicitors can provide the help and support you need to make a successful blood transfusion claim, drawing on years of specialist expertise in the field of medical negligence. The claims process can often be lengthy and complex, which is why our solicitors are dedicated to making the experience as stress-free as possible.

We understand how stressful it can be to experience medical negligence relating to a blood transfusion, or to receive contaminated blood. Our legal team is dedicated to ensuring that you are able to access compensation to help you move on with your life.

Call JMW free on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you to discuss your claim in greater detail.

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Why Choose JMW?

If you are looking to make a blood transfusion negligence claim, JMW Solicitors's team of highly qualified and experienced legal professionals have a proven track record in successfully handling medical negligence claims for people in your situation. We are renowned for our professional, sympathetic approach, understanding that each client's situation is unique and requires a tailored strategy.

We understand the devastating impact that blood transfusion errors can have on your life. These errors can lead to serious health complications, emotional distress and financial hardship, and so we will work tirelessly to help you to navigate the complex process of making a claim, providing you with the legal advice and representation you need to secure a fair settlement.

The medical negligence team at JMW includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel. Headed by Eddie Jones, one of the most respected medical negligence solicitors in the UK, the JMW team is ready to help you.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis, meaning that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not owe us any legal fees.

What is a blood transfusion?

Blood transfusions are medical procedures that involve transferring blood from one person to another. This is typically done through a blood bank, where blood is collected, tested and stored before being used for transfusions. Blood transfusions are often lifesaving, helping patients compensate for dangerous levels of blood loss, or treating illnesses such as sickle cell anaemia, bone marrow failure, chronic liver disease or haemophilia.

However, blood transfusions need to be performed with the utmost care. The blood needs to be the right type for the patient, and it needs to be free from any infections or contaminants. While most blood transfusions are performed safely and successfully, patients can experience serious health complications if the necessary standards are not met.

What are the potential risks and complications of blood transfusions?

While blood transfusions can be lifesaving, they are not without risks. These risks can range from minor reactions to life-threatening health issues. Some of the examples include:

  • Wrong blood type - if a patient receives the wrong blood type during a transfusion, it can cause a serious reaction. The patient's immune system will attack the new blood cells, which can lead to fever, chills and, in severe cases, shock or kidney failure.
  • Infected or contaminated blood - a patient may receive blood that is infected with bacteria or viruses. This can lead to serious health complications, including sepsis, a life-threatening immune system response that can cause organ failure; it may also result in the transmission of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and West Nile virus.
  • Fluid overload - if too much blood is transfused, or if the process happens too quickly, it can lead to swelling, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and potentially heart failure.
  • Iron overload - if a person receives many blood transfusions over a long period of time, they can develop iron overload. This is because blood contains iron, and receiving too much iron can damage organs such as the heart and liver.
  • Lung injury - in rare cases, a blood transfusion can cause a serious lung condition called transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). This can cause shortness of breath, low blood pressure, fever and, in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.
  • Allergic reactions - some people may have an allergic reaction to the blood they receive, even if it's the correct blood type. This can cause symptoms such as hives, itching, fever and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
  • Fever - a fever after a blood transfusion can be a sign of a reaction to the transfusion. While this is usually not serious, it can be uncomfortable for the patient.

What are the most common reasons for blood transfusion negligence claims?

Blood transfusion errors can lead to serious health complications and are classed as examples of medical negligence, meaning that affected patients may be able to make a claim for compensation. Common errors that often lead to blood transfusion compensation claims include:

  • Administering the wrong type of blood - the compatibility of blood types is a fundamental aspect of safe blood transfusion. If a patient receives the wrong type of blood, this is often due to errors in blood typing, cross-matching, or misidentification of the patient or blood units. This is a clear case of medical negligence, as ensuring the correct blood type is given represents a basic standard of care, and an incompatible blood transfusion can cause serious harm to the patient.
  • Giving infected blood - blood used for transfusions should be thoroughly screened for infectious diseases. If a patient receives a contaminated blood transfusion, it usually indicates negligence in the screening process, or a failure to discard contaminated blood.
  • Unnecessary blood transfusion - blood transfusions carry risks and should only be performed when necessary. If a patient receives a blood transfusion that they did not need, it could be due to a misdiagnosis, failure to consider alternative treatments, or a lack of informed consent. This unnecessary exposure to risk can be considered medical negligence.
  • Administering a blood transfusion to the wrong patient - this type of error usually occurs due to miscommunication or misidentification of patients. Healthcare providers are expected to have stringent patient identification processes in place to prevent such errors.
  • Injury during the transfusion - injuries during the transfusion process can occur due to improper technique, such as incorrect insertion of the needle or failure to monitor the patient during the transfusion.

Each of these scenarios represents a breach of the duty of care that healthcare providers owe to their patients. When these breaches lead to harm, patients have the right to seek compensation through a blood transfusion negligence claim.

What is the process for making a blood contamination negligence claim?

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a blood transfusion error or received contaminated blood, you may be entitled to make a blood transfusion negligence compensation claim. Our expert team at JMW Solicitors can guide you through the process, helping you to gather the necessary evidence, understand the potential value of your claim, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

The process of making a claim involves several steps:

  1. Initial consultation - we offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation where we will discuss your case and advise you on the best way forward.
  2. Investigation - if we believe you have a case, we will begin an investigation. This will involve gathering evidence, such as medical records and witness statements, and consulting with medical experts.
  3. Submitting the claim - once we have gathered all the necessary evidence, we will submit your claim to the hospital or other healthcare settings we believe are responsible for your injury. We will outline the details of your case, including how the negligence occurred and the harm you have suffered. 
  4. Negotiation - if the responsible party accepts liability, we will negotiate with them to secure the maximum compensation for you. If they deny liability, we may need to issue court proceedings so that we are able to continue to fight on your behalf.  
  5. Settlement - once a settlement has been agreed, we will arrange for the compensation to be paid to you. This can be used to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and any other losses you have incurred as a result of the negligence.

How much compensation you will be able to claim will depend on various factors, including the direct impact on your life and wellbeing, and any financial losses you have experienced as a result. JMW will work with you to review the details of your case and calculate a fair settlement based on your circumstances.

We are here to support you every step of the way, providing the legal advice and representation you need to secure the outcome you deserve. We will keep you informed at every stage, and we will always be available to answer any questions you may have.

How long do I have to make a claim?

When it comes to making a claim for blood transfusion negligence or contaminated blood, it is important to be aware of the time limits that apply. The general rule is that you have three years from the date of the negligence, or from the date you became aware of the negligence to make a claim. This is known as the 'limitation period'.

For blood transfusion negligence claims, the three-year limitation period typically starts from the date the blood transfusion occurred, or from the date when any adverse effects were first noticed. There are certain exceptions to the three-year rule - for instance, if the person affected was under 18 at the time of the negligence, the three-year period does not start until their 18th birthday. Similarly, if the person affected lacks mental capacity, there will be no time limit at all.

Given the complexities around the limitation period, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim. At JMW Solicitors, we can help you understand the time limits that apply to your case and guide you through the process of making a claim.

FAQs about blood transfusion claims

How does blood contamination happen?

Blood contamination refers to the presence of harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses or other pathogens, in the blood that is used for transfusions. This can occur in several ways, including:

  • Improper screening - before blood is used for a transfusion, it should be screened for infectious diseases. If the screening process is not conducted properly, infected blood may be used for transfusions.
  • Use of non-sterilised equipment - if the equipment used to collect, store or administer the blood is not properly sterilised, it can introduce contaminants into the blood.
  • Incorrect storage - blood needs to be stored under specific conditions to prevent the growth of bacteria. If these conditions are not met, the blood can become contaminated.
  • Donor health - if a donor is unknowingly carrying an infectious disease, their blood can infect the recipient. This is why potential donors are screened for certain conditions and asked about their medical history.

One of the most infamous cases is the UK infected contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 80s. During this time, thousands of patients received contaminated blood transfusions infected with HIV and hepatitis C. Many of these patients were haemophiliacs who required regular blood transfusions, and the scandal resulted in a public inquiry and compensation for those affected. Nicola Wainwright, a specialist medical negligence solictor at JMW, has extensive experience in acting on behalf of those affected by this scandal.

For many of these patients, the typical three-year limitation period was extended, as many victims were not aware of their infection until many years later.

If you have received contaminated blood as a result of a transfusion, contact a solicitor with expertise in medical negligence as soon as possible in order to find out how to claim compensation.

Talk to Us

If you believe you have a case for a blood transfusion compensation claim, do not hesitate to contact us. At JMW Solicitors, we are committed to helping those affected by blood transfusion negligence get the compensation they deserve.

Call our medical negligence team for free on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form, and we will get back to you to discuss your claim in greater detail. We are here to help you navigate the complex process of making a claim, and we will fight to secure the maximum compensation for you.

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