Negligent Blood Test Compensation Claims – How To Claim Compensation For Negligence / Misdiagnosis

Negligent blood test

Negligent blood test

If you have been the victim of a negligent blood test which has led to you being injured or contracting an illness, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Similarly, if an illness was not diagnosed due to either a negligent vaccination or errors during the testing of your blood sample, you could be able to make a medical malpractice claim through a personal injury solicitor. Negligent blood testing could occur in either the NHS or the private sector.

There are lots of different reasons why a patient may need a blood test. It may be a routine check to make sure blood levels are fine, to check if you have an infection, or to confirm a diagnosis. Whatever the reason, you are entitled to expect a minimum standard of care during the procedure. If clinical staff do not pay due care and attention when carrying out your blood test, you could be harmed in a variety of different ways.

Similarly, if mistakes are made during the drawing of blood, such as the same needle being used for more than one patient, you could have grounds to make a personal injury claim.

Find out how Accident Claims UK could help you by reading our guide below. If you are ready to discuss your case with an experienced clinical negligence adviser, please call us on 0800 073 8801.

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A Guide To Negligent Blood Test Compensation Claims

In this guide, we shall take you through the different circumstances in which a negligent blood test injury could occur, look at examples of how people could be harmed, and guide you through the process of making a personal injury claim. We have also provided a personal injury claims compensation table with examples of how much a personal injury solicitor may be able to help you recover compensation for the harm you were caused and also the expenses incurred.

In addition to this guide, we have a variety of other resources across our site which offer insights into medical negligence compensation claims. At the bottom of this page, you will find links to some to these recommended guides.

What Is Blood Test Negligence?

Mistakes could be made in several different ways. Negligence errors may be made when drawing blood, or when selecting needles (using the same needle on different patients). Mix-ups may be made with blood samples, other laboratory tests, or diagnostic errors.

Examples of negligent blood testing, which could lead to a patient being harmed, may include mistakes made by medical staff, such as causing a needle-stick injury during the drawing of blood. Needle-stick injuries may be where a needle, which has already been in contact with other blood samples or tissues, pierces a patient’s skin, possibly transferring an infection. Patients may then require a blood test after a needle-stick injury.

Diagnostic errors could happen if a doctor, or person working in a laboratory misinterprets the results of a test. Other laboratory errors could include the mixing up of different blood tests, and a patient getting the wrong test results.

In this article from the British Medical Journal, you can learn more about routine failures and mistakes in blood testing.

What Is The Bolam Test?

Before proceeding to look in more detail at how you could be harmed, we shall look at two common questions relating to this type of claim. Firstly, what is classed as ‘medical negligence? And how do you prove medical negligence? Put simply, medical negligence or malpractice, is where a medical practitioner has not fulfilled their duty of care to a patient.

To claim compensation, you need to establish that a clinical or medical practitioner has breached their duty of care. All medical practitioners have a duty of care to their patients, and must also follow good practice guidelines, such as those produced by the General Medical Council. The standard which determines whether a medical practitioner has breached their duty of care to a patient (and thus whether a medical negligence claim can be made), is called the Bolam Test. This test was introduced after a 1957 case – Bolam vs Friern Hospital Management Committee.

The Bolam Test compares the actions taken by the medical professional in question. A body of comparable medical professionals decide whether the doctor, nurse or other practitioners in question, acted acceptably. The body can determine whether or not, the person acted negligently or not. This along with other evidence may help your solicitor prove that you were indeed harmed by medical negligence.

You can learn more about determining medical negligence here.

Mistakes Which Could Be Made During A Blood Test

As we shall see in the following sections, there are many different ways in which a negligent blood test could cause harm to a patient. These include:

  • Errors in interpreting test results, mixing up the samples, or results of different patients
  • Errors in diagnosing a particular illness, or misdiagnosing an illness
  • Mistakes which lead to a patient acquiring a blood-borne virus, such as sepsis
  • Mistakes during the drawing of blood causing an injury, including damage to the vein or nerves

If any of these or other accidents, errors or mistakes affected you and your health, please talk to our specialist clinical negligence team.

Blood Test Sample And Results Mix-Ups

Negligence in blood testing could happen at any one of the multiple steps that a blood sample goes through. Typically blood samples may be collected by nurses, doctors or phlebotomists – those specialising in collecting blood samples. Depending on where your test was taken, and the reason for having your blood tested, the test may involve different hospital departments or laboratories, doctors or scientists and diagnostic procedures, practices and technology.

While there may be stringent procedures in place, at any one of these steps, a mistake could be made. Even hospitals and laboratories could and have, made mistakes such as:

  • Patients blood samples being mixed up or switched through error
  • Samples not being adequately labelled, leading to mistakes in the carrying out of tests, or assignment to the wrong patient
  • Poor quality control of tests and testing procedures could mean test results are not accurate, and a blood disorder is not highlighted or diagnosed
  • Samples not being kept in the right conditions (such as at the right temperature) and thus degrading, leading to inaccurate test results

In the UK, there have been high profile instances relating to negligent blood testing. For example, at the Derriford Hospital in 2016, 250 patients received the wrong blood test results. One patient was incorrectly diagnosed with cancer and spent eleven months thinking she had the disease until receiving a correct diagnosis.

The physical and psychological impact of such clinical negligence can be devastating. In this instance, the patient did not receive the correct treatment for eleven months and also spent this time believing that she was going to die.

Blood Test Diagnostic Mistakes

According to the British Medical Journal, diagnosing an illness may involve a physical examination of a patient, a review of their medical history and in some instances, diagnostic testing. Such tests may either confirm an initial diagnosis, or rule out a similar condition. In around 10% of the diagnosis, the test will be carried out to consider the diagnosis final.

If blood test results are misread or misinterpreted, a patient may be told they are in good health (when in fact they have an illness which requires treatment). Conversely, they may be told they are ill when, in fact, they are not, or they may be diagnosed with the wrong condition – potentially receiving the wrong treatment. In such situations, the patient’s health may be negatively affected. Blood-borne virus symptoms may be missed, and illnesses such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B or Sepsis may be missed. In the most extreme examples of a negligent blood test, the patient may even suffer fatal consequences.

If you are claiming compensation because of a blood test misdiagnosis, your personal injury lawyer may need to establish that the person responsible did indeed misinterpret the test results, and that a colleague would not have made the same error. You may also need to show that the negligent blood test did adversely affect your health.

Blood Borne Viruses Contracted Through Unhygienic Needles

Reusing needles or using improperly sterilised or contaminated needles, can be extremely dangerous to a patient’s health. Unhygienic needles could potentially contaminate a patient with a blood-borne virus. Blood-borne virus examples and illness which are communicable through needles include Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV.

These conditions are severe and may not be immediately apparent. For example, HIV initially presents with symptoms similar to the flu lasting for 2 – 6 weeks. After this, the patient appears to get better, though their immune system is damaged.

Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B both affect the liver, and they can be dangerous, though people may be able to fight off acute or short-term cases of Hepatitis B.

There are other blood-borne viruses (BBV) which transmit from person to person. This guide on blood-borne viruses produced by the NHS has additional information.

Calculating Compensation For Injury Or Illness Caused By Negligent Blood Tests

The main part of your personal injury claim may be to seek damages for your unnecessary suffering and pain. In general, the more severe and harmful your injury, the more compensation you could be able to claim. However, this does vary from injury to injury. Your settlement may also take account of your projected future health. Will you make a full recovery, be left with permanent symptoms or even not recover to any degree? Your medical assessment may guide the compensation claim.

In the personal injury claims compensation table below, you can see an estimate of how much you could claim in different circumstances. Please note that this table is for guidance purposes only and actual amounts awarded in successful claims may vary.

Injury or illnessSeverityEffects on claimantSettlement
Impairment of Taste and SmellTotal Loss of Taste and SmellMay be caused either by a head injury or infection.In the region of £34,340
Impairment of Taste and SmellTotal Loss of Smell and Significant Loss of TasteIf the sense of smell is lost, sense of taste will often be similarly affected. May be caused by infection.£28,860 to £34,340
Impairment of Taste and SmellLoss of SmellMay be caused by an infection transferred to the patient or because an infection is not treated.£21,910 to £28,860
Impairment of Taste and SmellLoss of TasteMay be caused by an infection transferred to the patient or because an infection is not treated.£16,830 to £21,910
Kidney injury‘B’Where there is a urinary tract infection which significantly impairs kidney function.up to £56,100
Spleen injury‘A’Where there is the loss of the spleen and also future risk of internal infection.£18,240 to £23,050
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderSeverePermanent symptoms which prevent the victim working in the future.£52,490 to £88,270
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderModerately SevereThe long-term prognosis will be better than for those in the above category.£20,290 to £52,490
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderModerateThe victim can and should make a good level of recovery.£7,170 to £20,290
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderLess SevereA full recovery should be made in 1 - 2 years.£3,460 to £7,170

See if you can claim for NHS negligence or private medical negligence and how much you could be owed by talking to our team today.

What Else Could I Claim Compensation For?

Aside from compensating you for the unnecessary pain and suffering that you have experienced, the role of a compensation settlement is to put you back (as far as possible) in a similar situation as you were before your accident happened. 

When your personal injury solicitor calculates the total amount of compensation you might claim, they take a variety of different factors into account. These factors might include the expense of travelling to doctors appointments or other medical treatments as well as for other care which could help with everyday life. Claimants may require further treatment in the future or even of the course of their life. If there are associated costs with such treatment or medication, it may be possible to claim compensation for this too. In addition, if you have suffered nerve damage, you may lose mobility and require home adaptations.

You could also claim compensation if you have had to take time off work and lost income or earnings as a consequence. This could also include projected future losses. All of these costs and expenses would be awarded to you as special damages in a successful negligence claim for compensation.

Is There A Time Limit For Making A Medical Negligence Claim?

Whether there is an applicable personal injury time limit, what this is and how long does a medical negligence claim take are common queries surrounding this type of claim. In general, claims need to be started less than three years either from the date of the injury happening or, of you being made aware of an injury/illness that can be directly linked to the negligence act of a third party.

There are of course exceptions to this. Children are not able to claim compensation on their own. Therefore, an adult can claim at any time from the date of injury or discovery until the child’s 18th birthday. If no claim is made before the child’s eighteenth birthday, the victim then has three years in which to claim compensation. In short, they have up until they are twenty one years of age to seek compensation. A further exception to the three-year rule is that those who lack sufficient mental capacity to claim on their own are not under a time limit.

How long does a medical negligence claim take is a difficult question to answer. Different claims may involve different circumstances and may be more or less complicated to make. Therefore a claim may take between several months and several years to complete in the most complex instances.

No Win No Fee Solicitors Handling Negligent Blood Test Claims

At Accident Claims UK, medical negligence cases we handle, such as those involving NHS compensation claims, are done through No Win No Fee agreements. As a claimant, this means that you could make a personal injury claim without having to make an initial or upfront payment to the solicitor.

If you are offered a No Win No Fee agreement with your personal injury lawyer, you will need to pay the solicitor at the end of your claim (assuming that you have been successful in winning a compensation payout). The amount you pay the solicitor is referred to as a ‘success fee’ and is taken directly from the amount of negligence compensation you are awarded.

How Our Medical Negligence Solicitors Could Help You

Our team have decades of experience in helping people make successful clinical negligence claims, such as those for negligent blood tests. Our team can help to collect the evidence necessary to make a successful claim and support you through the claims process.

Our advisers and personal injury solicitors understand the difficulties which may be faced by victims of medical negligence, and could help you. We know as well as getting the compensation you are owed, you also want to learn what went wrong in your treatment and to hold anyone responsible to account.

Talk To Us And Find Out How To Claim Compensation

If you have any legal questions about claiming a negligent blood test, you can contact the expert team at Accident Claims UK. We are here to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and if you are eligible to make a personal injury claim, we could help you.

When you enquire, there is no obligation to make your claim with our team. You can contact us by dialling 0800 073 8801, or you can use our online contact form to request a call-back from one of our advisers. Please note that we also have a live chat feature where you can talk to us.

Blood Test Information And Resources

Medical negligence is one of the largest areas of personal injury claims. In addition to issues caused by a negligent blood test, there are many other ways in which negligent provision of medical care could cause harm to a patient. Below we have included further relevant claims guides on our site, as well as examples of valuable external resources.

Medical Negligence Claims
This is our guide to general medical negligence claims in which you can learn more about some of the circumstances in which you could claim compensation.

Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
In our guide to claiming compensation for a misdiagnosed illness or condition, you can learn when you may be eligible to make a compensation claim.

NHS Guide To Blood Tests
At this NHS resource, you can find out about the uses for blood tests, how to prepare for your blood test and see what will happen during your blood test.

NHS Blood Infection Risks
This NHS guide looks at the risk of contracting blood-borne virus examples, or infection posed by coming into contact with another person’s blood.

Article by RB

Editor Honey