Thousands die of dehydration each year in NHS hospitals

According to healthcare regulator NICE, tens of thousands of patients are dying needlessly in NHS hospitals from kidney failure linked to dehydration.

The report from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) estimates that around 100,000 cases of a condition known as acute kidney injury could be prevented if simple checks like ensuring patients have enough to drink were implemented. This could mean that between 12,000 and 42,000 deaths per year may possibly be avoided by improving care in our NHS hospitals.

The condition effects between 262,000 and one million people every year and costs the NHS around £500 million according to new guidelines released by Nice. It also kills more people on an annual basis than common cancers and occurs more regularly in those with heart failure, diabetes, are suffering from infections or following major surgery.

Deaths from dehydration are always avoidable

Fiona Loud of Kidney Alliance, a group formed to represent the interests of patients, charities, and professional bodies who influence the development and implementation of Government policy relating to kidney care, said: “Acute kidney injury is something that happens really quickly. Within a few hours your condition can become life-threatening, and it is completely avoidable.”

The new guidelines state that NHS staff should measure the level of serum creatinine in high-risk patients, those with existing conditions such as heart failure, liver disease, diabetes, a history of kidney problems or blood poisoning. Other basic checks include measuring the output of urine and ensuring a patient is sufficiently hydrated.

Keylaw’s specialist medical negligence solicitors believe it is unacceptable that someone should die unnecessarily through poor patient care when that death could have easily been avoided with simple, basic checks.

The firm welcomes the introduction of the new guidelines and hope that they serve their purpose of raising awareness amongst healthcare professionals to ensure that acute kidney injury is identified early on and the correct treatment is administered.

A spokesperson said “The NHS must employ any means necessary to reduce the number of people needlessly dying each year.”

The team of expert medical negligence solicitors at Keylaw represent clients across the UK who have suffered prolonged illness, injury or even death following negligent treatment.

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