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Sophie Townsend of our clinical negligence team looks at compensation claims arising from failure to provide anticoagulants
Anticoagulants, commonly known as “blood thinners”, are frequently provided to patients with a high risk of developing blood clots that could lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
Medical professionals often prescribe anticoagulants where:
- you have suffered from blood clots previously;
- you suffer from Deep Vein Thrombosis;
- you have recently undergone surgery which prevents you from moving around;
- you have an irregular heart beat;
- you have recently undergone an aortic valve replacement in your heart; or
- you suffer from a condition which results in your blood having a greater tendency to clot.
It is important to identify and treat those patients who are most at risk.
It has recently been confirmed that NHS Stroke Action will be launched in March 2020. This initiative is aimed at helping teams of specialist nurses and pharmacists to identify patients with irregular heartbeats so they can be given a treatment plan. It is hoped that by offering patients anticoagulant treatment at an earlier stage the risk of heart attack and stroke will be significantly decreased.
However, at-risk patients are not always identified and treated with anticoagulants. Mistakes and errors occur which can lead to patients developing avoidable conditions such as heart attacks or strokes. If you have suffered illness due to a failure to provide anticoagulants then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
In order to make a compensation claim for failure to provide anticoagulants there are a number of requirements that need to be met:
- The medical professionals involved in your care must have failed to meet a reasonable standard when assessing and treating you;
- The failure of the medical professionals to provide you with appropriate medical treatment given your presentation and condition has materially contributed to you suffering an avoidable condition;
- If it had not been for the failure of your treating medical professionals, you would have received the appropriate care and treatment, which, on balance, would have prevented a heart attack, stroke or other condition; and
- Your claim must be made within three years of the date of injury, or three years from your ‘date of knowledge’.
Where failure to provide anticoagulants results in a patient’s death their loved ones may still be entitled to compensation by bringing a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 or the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Such claims can include compensation for ‘loss of dependancy’ for anyone who was financially dependant on the person who has passed away.
We are able to deal with failure to provide anticoagulants compensation claims on a no win, no fee basis, so there is no need to let worries about legal costs prevent you from seeking justice.