Clinical Negligence Claims: Acute Kidney Injury Guidance Released
4th September 2013
One in six hospital patients has acute kidney injury (AKI), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said. Although this condition is completely preventable in 20% to 30% of cases, one in four of all AKI patients will die from the condition, meaning that 12,000 people die from preventable AKI every year.
As a result, medical negligence solicitors see AKI patients regularly, with people claiming the condition was preventable and should have been treated at an earlier stage. New NICE guidelines could help reduce the number of medical negligence claims personal injury solicitors see, improving outcomes for a huge number of people.
Early Detection Preventing Medical Negligence Compensation Claims
NICE pointed out that early AKI detection is essential if the condition is to be dealt with before it becomes critical. Kidneys can become overwhelmed when the injury is not noticed, leading to significant health problems, including irreversible personal injuries and death. While clinical negligence solicitors can help people recover compensation when negligence leads to the condition worsening, the health problems people can face can be severe and significantly worsen their quality of life.
As a result, NICE has suggested that healthcare professionals should do the following:
– Monitor the kidney function of patients
– Check their hydration levels
– Check how regularly patients pass urine
There are a number of things patients can also do to reduce their likelihood of developing AKI and to improve their outcomes, including:
– Drink plenty of water
– Go to the toilet regularly
– Inform doctors of any unusual problems or changes to their body
– Become aware of the dangers of AKI
Problems In Reducing Aki Clinical Negligence Compensation Claims
It is worth pointing out that improving standards of patient healthcare and preventing clinical negligence claims caused by AKI is not necessarily simple, despite the NICE guidelines. Front-line NHS workers are experiencing an exceptionally high workload and may be pressed for time, which will impact their ability to follow the NICE guidelines.
Hospitals and NHS Trusts that have effectively reduced the number of AKI deaths and serious injuries can support other NHS Trusts by sharing good practice.
It’s not just clinical negligence compensation that costs the NHS money when AKI is not properly treated – statistics from the unpublished Economic Impact of Acute Kidney Injury report from Marion Kerr estimated that the NHS spends between £434 million and £620 million every year on the condition. This is more than the amount of money spent on skin cancer and lung cancer combined, or as much as is spent on breast cancer.
NICE stated that its guidelines will cost very little to implement but could significantly reduce the cost of AKI, giving the NHS more money to spend on other issues. This means that not only could following the guidelines prevent AKI-related medical negligence claims, but doing so could also potentially lead to an across-the-board decrease in all clinical negligence claims, improving the health of everyone who uses the NHS.