Gentamicin Toxicity - Balance and Hearing Loss Claims

If you have suffered as a result of gentamicin toxicity and this was caused by the negligence of a medical professional, the team at JMW can help you make a claim for compensation. A powerful antibiotic, gentamicin is used to treat bacterial infection. However, if administered inappropriately it can cause various problems. If you have suffered an injury caused by gentamicin toxicity, it is important that you have access to the right legal representation.

The JMW team is highly experienced in dealing with gentamicin toxicity claims and will provide the support you need to give you the best chance of securing the outcome you deserve. Call us on 0800 054 6512 or complete our online enquiry form, which will allow us to give you a ring back.

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Gentamicin Toxicity Explained

Gentamicin is one of a group of antibiotics known as amino glycosides and is most commonly used in the treatment of serious Gram-negative bacterial infections after other antibiotics have proven ineffective.

First discovered in the 1940s, gentamicin has been known to have serious toxic effects in some individuals, particularly relating to the kidney and inner ear. Only relatively recently have the reasons for this been fully understood.

Gentamicin is not toxic until it combines with iron in the blood stream and produces destructive chemical agents known as free radicals. The tiny hair cells in the inner ear are particularly vulnerable to these and once they become damaged, they are no longer able to transmit impulses to the auditory nerve and to the brain, causing deafness. This can also lead to damage to the kidneys and symptoms of vestibular damage, such as:

  • Imbalance
  • Transient vision blurring

Making a Claim

If you have suffered from gentamicin toxicity, you may be eligible to make a claim against the GPs or surgeons responsible for your care. Dangers of using gentamicin can include:

  • Balance problems
  • Hearing loss

It is up to your doctor or other medical professionals administering gentamicin to keep you informed of the dangers of taking it. If the risks are not explained to you and you suffer due to your use of the drug, you may be in a position to make a claim for compensation. 

Why Choose JMW?

At JMW, we have successfully secured compensation for a range of clients who have suffered unnecessarily as a result of gentamicin toxicity.

When considering launching a claim of this kind, you need to know that the solicitors supporting you have the expertise and experience necessary to put you in as strong a position as possible for winning your case. Our clinical negligence experts can offer you peace of mind that your claim is in safe hands and that you have a very good chance of recovering funds that can make a huge difference to your life.

Our clinical negligence team, headed by leading solicitor Eddie Jones, includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors' panel.

Case Study

  1. Negligent Drug Treatment Leading to Gentamycin Toxicity

    A woman has been awarded £350,000 in compensation after consistent negligence from doctors during treatment which resulted in permanent damage.

    Katherine had a long history of renal problems and commenced chronic ambulatory peritoneal renal dialysis (CAPD) following the insertion of a Tenchkoff catheter into her abdomen.

    Bacterial infection of the catheter or the dialysate leading to peritonitis is common in CAPD and Katherine required antibiotics (Flucloxacillin, Vancomycin, Gentamycin and Metronidazole) because of cloudy dialysate and discharge from around the catheter.

    Mismanaged Gentamycin dosage leading to illness

    Two months later the dialysate in the bag was again cloudy and Gentamycin 40 mg daily prescribed. The records also mention 80 mgs of Gentamycin. This dose (40/80mgs) continued daily for the next 2 weeks, self-administered directly into the dialysate bag.

    After two weeks the trough Gentamycin level (i.e. just before next dose is due) was found to be raised at 6.7 mg/l (ideal is less than 1 mg/l). It was checked the following day when it was still raised at 4.0mg/l so Katherine was advised to omit one dose. The daily 40 mg then continued for a further week, i.e. 3 weeks plus in total.

    Katherine attended the hospital with symptoms of vomiting, dizziness and noises in the ears. She was unable to stand for long periods. A diagnosis of Gentamycin ototoxicity was made and the drug was discontinued.

    Further course of Gentamycin leads to permanent damage

    Four months later Katherine had another episode of pseudomonas peritonitis and again received a course of Gentamycin. This time, the blood levels were kept between 1 and 2 mg/l.

    Katherine suffered permanent damage to the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear, which is a well-documented side effect of Gentamycin toxicity. This resulted in severe dizziness and loss of balance.

    The claim

    JMW Solicitors alleged that it was negligent to fail to measure trough Gentamycin levels regularly (at least on alternate days) and fail to discontinue treatment within 7 days.  It was also alleged that it was negligent to administer Gentamycin again despite the history of toxicity.


    The hospital made a full admission of breach of duty (negligence) and causation (that the negligence caused an injury). Katherine received £350,000 compensation.

Talk to Us

Speaking to us represents the first step in claiming compensation that can make a real difference in your life. If you have suffered gentamicin toxicity negligence, call us on 0800 054 6512 or allow us to call you back by completing our online enquiry form


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