Chronic Kidney Disease and Acute Kidney Injury Payouts

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By Crispin Bateman

on Friday 12 October 2018

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Medical negligence and harmful substances in the workplace – these two unfortunately common issues make up the majority of kidney injury compensation claims in the UK. If you have been affected by either, you may be entitled to a significant payout.

Kidney problems fall into two distinct categories: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). Both can lead to compensation for the loss of a kidney in serious situations, with kidney damage among the largest compensation claim levels in the UK.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Unlike damage done by a sudden injury, chronic kidney disease comes about through sustained damage over a long period. Although the kidney has deteriorated over the time, the symptoms are likely to remain hidden until a nearly complete level kidney failure occurs. Almost without warning, signs begin to show including:

  • Blood and high levels or protein in urine

  • Loss of weight

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Swollen ankles

  • Skin irritations

CKD is often a devastating result of a pre-existing condition. Issues such as diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption or high blood pressure can slowly do the damage that results in chronic kidney disease, only discovered at a late stage due to a routine blood or urine test.

Where the cause is not as benign, it can be due to long term use of hazardous substances in the workplace. Heavy metal nephrotoxins are common in many industries and are often part of the daily routine for many workers.

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure proper health and safety guidelines regarding the use of hazardous materials covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Heath (COSHH) Regulations 2002 are in place.

COSHH regulations state that companies must:

  • Carry out risk assessments

  • Provide adequate ventilation and ensure it is in good working order

  • Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) and check its use

  • Give proper training and instruction

  • Regularly revise and update procedures and training

  • Provide monitoring and regular health checks

If any of these rules are not effectively being carried out, then the employer is likely to be liable for any kidney-related damage that has occurred, and a kidney compensation award should be claimed for.

Some heavy metal nephrotoxins linked to renal failure that full under the COSHH regulations include:

  • Lead – a common metal across many industries, including medical (used in X-Ray shielding), military (often forming part of ammunition), and electrical (a common component to batteries).
  • Cadmium – famous for being used in batteries, Cadmium is also found in metal coatings, plastics and colour pigments.
  • Mercury – a hazardous metal commonly used in the production of chlorine gas and caustic soda, as well as a common component in thermometers and sometimes tooth fillings. Mercury is another nephrotoxin used in battery production.
  • Arsenic – found in pesticides and wood preservation compounds.
  • Uranium – though rare, Uranium is a key component for many weapons and is seen across the nuclear energy sector.

CKD causes are not limited to those metals above, however. Other substances that can be found in working environments across the UK that are also known to factor into the disease include:

  • Silica – used in glass production, ceramics and construction, as well as being a filler for paint and plastics, and in sand form found in water filtration systems.
  • Barium – used for X-Rays and in the manufacture of fireworks.
  • Dichloroethane – found mainly in the chemical industry
  • Manganese – another component to the manufacture of batteries.
  • Phosphorus – used for explosives.
  • Toluene – a solvent in nail varnish remover and paint thinners.

The wide range of causal agents for CKD make it a threat in many production industries.

What is Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)?

Acute Kidney Injury is a significant drop in kidney function that is often caused when an existing condition prevents blood flow to the kidney. It in an unfortunate statistic that it is estimated to affect 13% to 18% of people who are admitted to hospital, often as a consequence of complications arising with the treatment of other conditions.

The early stages of AKI tend to exhibit no symptoms, and the only early warning sign is that the affected person stops producing a regular amount of urine. Deterioration occurs swiftly, however, and the sudden onset of the following are characteristic of the problem:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • A build-up of fluid in the body (known as an oedema)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Confusion

AKI and the subsequent kidney malfunction can be fatal if not treated, and even with the proper treatment can result in a permanent life-altering health problem.

The causes of AKI include:

  • Low blood volume – this can come from blood loss or dehydration. Dehydration in particular is a common casual factor that leads to AKI in hospitals, as often patients are too unwell or distracted to keep themselves properly hydrated and stretched or substandard nursing care forms an additional factor.

  • A lower level of blood being pumped – this can be caused by an otherwise non-related heart failure, sepsis or liver failure condition.

  • Blood vessel problems – inflammation of the blood vessels in the kidneys (vasculitis) can prevent the blood getting where it is needed.

  • Certain medicines – some medicines when administered can have the side-effect of affecting the blood flow to the kidneys.

One of the other causes is kidney damage occurring during surgery – a case of medical negligence. NHS research indicates that 20-30% of instances of AKI could be prevented.

What is HES – Hydroxyethyl Starch?

You normally don’t want me to get too ‘medical’, but to bump over Quittance, I wanted to push on the medical negligence side and these research pieces fell on my lap. Cut if you feel it’s too much.

Once a fairly common medicine that is administered to patients arriving to hospital critically ill, HES is used to combat shock and other issues of trauma but has been linked in research to AKI. One study from Sweden in 2015 showed that cases where HES is used after a trauma incident had a strong correlation with AKI.

The European Medicines Agency recommended stopping its use in 2013 and it is expected to be withdrawn from the EU by the end of 2018. However, it is still legally available in the UK in cases of rapid blood loss where crystalloids alone are not sufficient, and cases of AKI in the recent past may be linked to the administration of HES.

Hydroxyethyl starch may well have become a problem of the past, but its use strongly shows how medicines used for one type of issue can be a significant factor in AKI.

How do I make a kidney failure compensation claim?

Accident Line Direct have a specialist legal team who are experts in making the type of complicated, high value compensation claim that relates to kidney damage. Whether it a medical negligence claim again the NHS, which can be a daunting process taking years, or a compensation claim for CKD against a former or current employer, we have experienced professionals who will work with you to bring your case to a positive conclusion and substantial financial award.

With examples of medical negligence payouts reaching six-figure sums, claiming compensation for a kidney injury - especially AKI due to negligence - requires a delicate touch and attention to fine detail that our highly-qualified solicitors deliver.

Accident Line Direct work on a No Win No Fee basis because we strongly believe that everyone is entitled to top-level legal support, and that a successful award is due to every wronged individual and should not be purely the province of the rich. Under the No Win No Fee basis, there are no upfront costs or hidden fees – we make our money by taking a small percentage of the overall award. Not only does this mean you can initiate your claim with no worry of financial difficulty, but we are as invested in the case as you are and will do everything we can to secure a positive outcome.

We will undertake all compensation claims for kidney injury with the same level of professionalism and duty, whether renal compensation for metabolic acidosis, or a mercury toxic exposure in the workplace case. We are completely confidential and understand the emotional severity of any injury claim. Our team will listen with compassion and provide you with the answers to any questions you may have regarding the process.

How much money could I claim for kidney damage?

The courts work to a set of predefined guidelines to determine claim award value. Personal injury compensation levels for kidney damage are high, as the impact on your life from the loss of a kidney is considerable.

Everything is accounted for, from the pain you have suffered, to the expenses incurred in trying to keep your quality of life. For this reason, we advise that you keep records of every transaction and medical diagnosis as each item could have an impact on the finally awarded sum.

Severity Compensation
Loss of one kidney with no damage to the other£24,530 to £35,780
Where there is a significant risk of future urinary tract infection or other total loss of natural kidney functionUp to £51,000
Serious and permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys£135,030 to £167,690

There is a limitation of three years from the first diagnosis or awareness of your kidney injury and the commencement of a compensation claim. If the first signs of your injury occurred within the last three years, then your claim is valid. Do call us if you are unsure regarding the timing of your diagnosis – and call sooner rather than later if there is a risk of missing out on this deadline.

How do I start a claim?

Give us at Accident Line Direct a call, or you can fill in our contact form to have an advisor call you back at a convenient time. Our advisors will be able to take you through the initial stages of the claim before passing you on to a fully qualified solicitor to take it further.

If you have found this article of use, please do share it so that others who may be suffering can get the help they deserve.

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