Haemochromatosis compensation claims

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What is genetic haemochromatosis?

  • Genetic haemochromatosis (GH) is an inherited condition where the body absorbs too much iron.
  • As early diagnosis is difficult, many people are diagnosed later than they should be, leading to significant and lasting consequences.
  • Compensation can help people who have suffered damage due to late diagnosis start to re-build their lives.

What is haemochromatosis negligence?

Haemochromatosis negligence refers to a failure by healthcare professionals to diagnose or treat the condition of haemochromatosis, which results in excessive iron accumulation in the body. This can lead to serious health complications such as liver damage, heart disease, and diabetes.

What is a haemochromatosis negligence claim?

A haemochromatosis negligence claim is a legal action taken against a healthcare provider for failing to diagnose or treat haemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron. This can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

Natalie Hirst

Natalie Hirst

Senior associate | Medical negligence

01483 748553

More about genetic haemochromatosis

Genetic haemochromatosis (GH), also known as hereditary haemochromatosis, is an inherited condition where a faulty gene causes the body to absorb too much iron from the diet. As the body has no means to excrete iron, it is deposited within various organs and tissues, slowly building up over a number of years causing damage. The most susceptible organs to iron overload are the liver, heart, adrenal glands, pancreas and the joints.

As the condition is often asymptomatic (shows no symptoms) early diagnosis can be difficult, with initial symptoms sometimes being vague and non-specific. Because of this GH is often diagnosed incidentally e.g. following a finding on a routine blood screening of abnormal liver function tests of elevated ferritin.

Get more information from Haemochromatosis UK – Members legal helping

What are the symptoms of genetic haemochromatosis?

Most of the symptoms of GH are non-specific there may be other causes. These may also be the presenting complaint in GH. A diagnosis should be considered if any of the symptoms below, especially in combination, are present.

  • Chronic fatigue, lethargy and weakness
  • Arthritis affecting any joints, but particularly the second and third MCP joints (knuckle joints)
  • Diabetes (late onset)
  • Cardiomyopathy and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Abdominal pain, often non-specific
  • Abnormal liver function, enlarged liver, cirrhosis and cancer
  • Psychiatric/neurological disorders such as depression, irritability, mood swings and impaired memory
  • Bronzing of the skin (permanent tan)
  • Erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive
  • Absent or irregular periods

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How can genetic haemochromatosis be diagnosed?

GH can be diagnosed via simple blood tests (known as transferrin saturation and serum ferritin) which provide a crude measure of iron stores in the body. These tests are then followed by a simple genetic test (another blood test) that tests for the HFE gene mutation.

How can genetic haemochromatosis be treated?

Once diagnosed, the treatment for GH is effective and simple and involves the regular removal of blood (venesection or phlebotomy). Depending on the degree of iron overload, this may initially need to be done weekly. Ferritin levels will be monitored and once restored to normal levels (indicating depleted iron stores), venesection will continue every few months as maintenance to ensure iron levels remain within the normal range.

It is likely that other tests will be required to assess whether there has been any organ damage and the extent of any damage that may have occurred.

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Watch: Louis’ story

Hear Louis’ story following a delay in diagnosing and treating genetic haemochromatosis.

How we can help

Many people receive their hereditary haemochromatosis diagnosis far later than they should have done, which can lead to significant and lasting consequences.

If you have suffered due to late diagnosis of GH it is vital that you maximise your recovery through active rehabilitation. If you have suffered due to errors in treatment and have a compensation claim, we can help you rebuild your life by obtaining interim compensation payments at the earliest possible stage. These payments can help you with:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Re-education/training
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Aids and equipment
  • Care support
  • Therapeutic services
  • Case management

We can also advise you on your benefit rights and can advise on dealing with any debts that you may have as a result of being off work.

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If you believe that you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence please contact us.

Our expert team work across our offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking. We deal with clients throughout the country and we will visit you at your home, hospital or rehabilitation unit.

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