Whether you needed a blood test to check your iron levels, or because it was suspected you might have an infection, like sepsis, or any other reason, you should expect a certain standard of care when having blood taken. If the clinical staff taking your blood are negligent, then it could cause a whole host of medical problems, and if it does, you could look at making claims for negligent blood testing.
Within the sections of the guide below, we offer information and assistance on making a medical negligence claim for a negligent blood test. We advise on the medical negligence claims time limit that might apply to your claim, and how a medical negligence lawyer could help you claim for NHS negligence if your blood test was done by the NHS, or against a private clinician if it was a private blood test. Either way, by the time you get to the end of this guide you should be informed enough to make a decision on what to do next about negligent blood testing. If you have any questions, Medical Negligence Assist’s advice line can be reached on 0800 652 3087, and we’d be happy to talk you through any aspect of blood test negligence or making a negligence claim.
Select A Section
- What Is A Negligent Blood Test?
- How Could Blood Test Negligence Happen?
- Mistakes Which Could Be Made During A Blood Test
- Mix-Up Of Samples In Blood Gas Testing
- Diagnostic Errors In Blood Testing
- Illness Caused By Unhygienic Needles
- Negligence And Mistakes By Medical Staff
- How Long Do I Have To Claim For Harm Caused By Negligent Blood Testing?
- What Could I Be Compensated For If Affected By A Negligent Blood Test?
- Am I Eligible To Claim For Harm Caused By Negligent Blood Testing
- No Win No Fee Negligent Blood Testing Compensation Claims
- Medical References
Whether you’ve gone to the doctor or a hospital for your blood test, whoever is taking blood owes you a standard of care, and if they do not live up to this standard, and their negligence causes you harm in some way, then you could look into making a negligent blood testing claim. To do so, you may wish to find a medical negligence lawyer with experience in this area of medical negligence law to help. Medical Negligence Assist could help with this. But what could you expect from a medical negligence solicitor, and how could they offer benefit to your negligent blood testing claim?
Simply put, a medical negligence lawyer could bring a wealth of experience in conducting claims just like yours. They would know what would make a good argument for compensation for a blood test gone wrong, how to prove liability and all of the legal aspects of making a claim. While you could, in theory, go it alone, we do not recommend this, as if you have little to no aspect of making claims like this, you may miss something out when making your claim, meaning you might not get the maximum compensation you deserve. At a time when you could be recovering from illness, you could also do without the stress of making a claim, and a medical negligence solicitor could assist here too – doing all the leg work involved in making a medical negligence claim so that you can concentrate on your recovery.
Below, we take a more in-depth look at blood test negligence, including information on blood tests injury, blood borne viruses, and needlestick injury, to name but a few factors. We hope you find the information useful in deciding on whether to go forward with a claim for negligent blood testing.
There are several different ways in which negligent blood testing could happen. These include:
- When a member of staff does not take enough care with the needle drawing blood
- When sterile equipment or infection control procedures are not followed, leading to infection
- Where blood test results are misinterpreted, or a misdiagnosis is given, or late return of blood test results leads to a delay in treatment that causes harm to the patient.
The last point brings us to an interesting study. According to the British Medical Journal, there are several factors that could use improvements when it comes to blood testing. These include:
- Delays in phlebotomy
- Lack of a fail-safe method of returning blood test to patients and practices
- Difficulty of receiving results over the phone
- Issues with non-clinical members of staff communicating results
- Lack of result communication protocol.
Whether you have suffered a misdiagnosis due to blood test mix-ups, or misreading of test results, or have had a delayed diagnosis or suffered an infection or blood-borne virus from your blood draw, you could consider claiming for a blood tests injury.
Blood test mistakes could happen in a number of different ways. These could include:
- Diagnostic mistakes during blood test diagnosis
- Mix-up of specimens of blood
- Mistakes made during the drawing of blood (This could include no swab with an alcohol wipe before the blood was taken)
- Needle re-use/ Unhygienic needles used during a blood draw
- Needlestick injuries
This list is not exhaustive, however, and if you have been injured in another way during or because of negligent blood testing, then we could help work out whether you could have a claim for compensation.
Put simply, it is possible for labs to make a mistake when testing your blood, although there should be protocols to stop this from happening. While there are measures in place to ensure all blood tests are accurately recorded, and hospitals should ensure that all medical staff have adequate training on these measures, mistakes could happen, and if they do these could lead to potentially dangerous outcomes.
Lab errors could include:
- Patient samples being switched
- Incorrectly labelled samples
- Samples of blood or donations of blood that were not kept at the correct temperature
- Quality control measures not followed
- Expired products for cancer screening used, giving an inaccurate result
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the things that could go wrong, leading to negligent blood testing. The results of negligent blood testing could be devastating to some, leading to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and mental trauma in some cases.
In 2016, 258 patients under Derriford hospital, notified by the hospital that their blood test results may have been mixed up. The samples of blood were tested between 3rd May 2016 and 29th July 2016, and this led one woman, a grandmother, to believe she was suffering from cancer for 11 months. Incidences such as these can take a huge mental toll on a person, and it was reported that the woman in question was taking legal action against the trust.
It could be, of course, possible not only to claim for the physical effects of a negligent blood test but also the emotional trauma that could come from such an event. This is why there are so many studies surrounding the avoidance of blood gas error. One paper covering blood gas mixups states that the risk of blood gas errors is most prevelant in the preanalytical phase. Common errors could be ordering the incorrect test, an error on the order entry, misidentification of specimens, contamination of the sample from the catheter, clotting, hemolysis or insufficient volume of blood taken, or an improper container or storage/transport/handling issue. As well as this, known errors could also include pipette error, centrifuge speed timing being inappropriate for the test, and mislabelling to name but a few.
If you have been a victim of negligent blood gas testing and you wish to make a blood test negligence claim, then it might be appropriate for your to contact a medical negligence solicitor to assist with your medical negligence claim.
While many blood tests could be considered reliable, if they are not read correctly, then you might suffer blood test negligence if a blood test is misread. This could lead to a person having a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. This means they could go without medication that would have made their medical condition better, or it could mean they were given medication they did not need.
In minor cases, this could cause the person to feel worse than they had to, and for longer. In extreme cases, this could lead to further progression of diseases like cancer, which could in some cases prove fatal.
For a claim to be successful in this manner, your solicitor would be required to prove that:
- The person interpreting the results of the test in question did so incorrectly. In doing so, they showed negligence.
- This blood test diagnosis negligence caused harm to you – this could be mental or physical.
- This negligent blood testing caused harm to your loved one that was fatal, and therefore you are claiming on their behalf
While mistakes could happen, if a clear oversight when looking at your blood test results has resulted in them being misread, or if a sample that was unclear did not lead to a repeat blood test, then you could have a blood test negligence compensation claim.
According to the HSE’s page on blood borne viruses in the workplace, blood borne viruses are carried in the bloodstream of infected parties and could be spread to other people in a variety of different way, including through the blood.
What are the three most common blood borne viruses?
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
The above blood borne viruses list is not exhaustive however, and these are not the only blood contaminants that could be passed through blood. Rare transmissions could include the Epstein Barr Virus as well as Cytomegalovirus.
What are the symptoms of BBV?
Some people that have been affected by a BBV (blood borne virus) could be asymptomatic (have no visible symptoms) while others could be made seriously ill.
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver which could in some cases threaten the life of a patient. This blood borne disease’s symptoms could include vomiting, nausea, pain in the abdomen, lack of appetite and fatigue, as well as similar to flu symptoms. They say the drug is dangerous– as if getting stewed to the gills with rum is safe and healthful! Maybe, it’s just me, but my own safety was the least thing I could care about 2 years back. I stopped being an addict thanks to Revia (Naltrexone), even though I used to feel very sick during the course. Stop pretending that you think it’s more harmful than the stuff you’re already on!
Hepatitis B spreads through blood and other bodily fluids. It also affects the liver and while some people may not have symptoms of Hepatitis B, in children it could be extremely dangerous, as it could affect the child for years, causing serious damage to their liver.
While some people may be under the impression that Hepatitis A could also be transmitted through blood, it is actually caught by close contact with a person or eating contaminated food an infected person has prepared.
HIV symptoms, while similar to flu symptoms, last for anywhere between 2-6 weeks. However, while symptoms may dissipate, the immune system damage continues.
How do you get a blood borne virus?
You could assume that hospitals do not re-use needles, as this could be extremely dangerous. There are many types of infections that could be passed on by used sharps (needles), however, and these do include Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV. If medical staff accidentally reuse a needle or leave an infected needle out and you become injured by it, you could potentially be infected with a BBV. This is a known risk of needlestick injury.
What is a blood borne virus screen?
Patients that are thought to have been affected by blood borne viruses transmission should be offered a blood borne viruses NHS test. If you have received a positive result of this, and you were affected by negligent blood testing, then a medical negligence solicitor could help you make a claim for private or NHS negligence.
If medical staff are negligent, then you could look into making a medical negligence claim with a medical negligence lawyer. The reason for this is that these medical staff have a responsibility towards your care, and if their action or inaction leads to you suffering harm, then you could consider making a claim. Mistakes that medical staff could make pertaining to blood tests could include:
- Instances where a medical staff member failed to correctly interpret the blood test results, putting you on the wrong treatment path
- Instances when a blood test was not carried out when protocol said it should have been
- Instances where lack of care with a needle injured you
Wherever someone in a clinical setting has been negligent, if it has caused you some sort of harm to your health, you could be in a position to make a claim for compensation for negligent blood testing.
In terms of the medical negligence time limit when it comes to this type of claim, limitation periods could vary. While most cases would be three years from the date the negligence occurred, others could be the date the injury was discovered. If you are at all unsure as to whether you are within the relevant time limit for your claim, then we could help. Some other exceptions could include claiming on behalf of a child, or claiming for someone who lacked the capacity to claim for themselves.
If you were harmed by negligent blood testing there are a number of different payments you could receive:
General damages – These could cover any perceived suffering and pain which could be either mental or physical because of the negligent test. It could cover a visible injury from a needlestick, or mental trauma from receiving the wrong blood test results due to mix-up, or it could be a mix of both if the specific negligence you’ve suffered leads to both mental and physical harm. You could get some idea of how much you could receive from a medical negligence claims calculator.
Special damages -In addition to the physical and mental costs of your injury, you could also consider claiming for the monetary costs. These are quantifiable and can be proven with receipts etc. Things such as income loss, prescription costs, care costs and more could be compensated as special damages.
If you’re unsure as to whether a cost could be covered within your claim for blood test negligence, we could help clarify this. Just get in touch to find out more.
Simply put, if your blood test was negligent and you are harmed in some way because of this negligence, then you could be eligible to look into making a negligent blood testing claim. If so, then you might want to call us here at Medical Negligence Assist. There are several reasons why we feel that calling us would be a good option.
We have the experience – We have spoken to many people in the position to make a negligence claim, whether for NHS or private clinic negligence. We know you might have questions, and we are ready to answer them. Our advice comes with no obligation to use our services, and we pride ourselves on going the extra mile to help callers feel that they have all the facts at their disposal when they are making a decision on whether to make a claim.
We have the compassion – Having gained all this experience in speaking to people in your position, we know what could be worrying you and we take pains to ensure that your claim is handled with compassion and care. Blood test negligence could be traumatic, and we aim to take as much stress off your shoulders by ensuring that you know exactly what is likely to happen within the claims process, and how you could leave the legwork of your case to someone else.
We have a solid reputation – Ask those that we have helped what they think of us, and you’re sure to get a positive answer. We are proud of our reputation, as we believe it shows we are putting the claimant first, every time.
We can connect you with a no win no fee medical lawyer – Not only could we offer advice to you on all aspects of making blood test negligence claims, but we could also help connect you with a lawyer who has the relevant knowledge and experience to handle this sort of claim.
If you’d like us to help you with any aspect of the claims process, we’d be glad to. Simply call 0800 652 3087 and we’ll be glad to help you.
You could actually start to make a claim very quickly for negligent blood testing if you go the no win no fee route. This allows you to make a medical negligence claim without having to pay a retainer to your medical negligence lawyer. Instead, what you would do would be to sign an agreement with your medical negligence solicitor to pay a percentage of your settlement to them once your claim paid out. This would not only reduce financial risk to you but would also allow you peace of mind that your medical negligence lawyer was working to secure the maximum compensation for your negligent blood test, as this would affect how much they would get paid too. You could also be sure that they would have taken on your case because they felt it had a good chance of securing a negligent blood testing compensation payout. If they didn’t think it would pay, then they would tell you this, as they would not want to waste their time or yours.
All about blood tests – The NHS have a page on blood tests, which you could see here.
What is a blood borne virus – This page, from NHS Wales, talks you through BBVs.
Infections from blood – This NHS page answers questions about risks from other people’s blood.
Time limitation periods for claims – This page sets out the guidelines for how long you have to claim.
Needlestick claims – Here is some information concerning needlestick injury claims.
NHS claimants – If you’re claiming against the NHS, this page could be useful.
Written by Jo
Edited by Lis.