Medical Negligence Experts Say NHS Should Do More For Stroke Victims

Report Claims Stroke Patients Are Being Given Wrong Dosage Of Drugs


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are calling for better measures to be put in place after alarming statistics suggested that thousands of stroke victims are being given the wrong dose of drugs because hospitals are ‘failing to weigh them’.

Researchers estimate that of the 150,000 stroke victims in Britain each year, almost 20 per cent are getting the wrong dose of drugs.

People who have suffered a stroke are usually treated with a clot-busting drug, the dose of which is dependent on how much they weigh.

But disturbing figures, released in the journal ‘Stroke’, claim doctors are getting these doses wrong because they are guessing a patient’s weight rather than weighing them.

The authors claimed that around 11 per cent are being given too little medication - and eight per cent too much, and that overall, 7 per cent of stroke victims get a dose that is so far out it affects their survival chances.

The researchers are recommending that it should become mandate for all NHS emergency/A&E departments in the UK to have at least one automatic weighing bed, which could ‘potentially save the NHS millions of pounds in terms of better stroke outcome and reduced morbidity’.

Professor Pankaj Sharma, the lead researcher, from the Institute of Cardiovascular Research at Royal Holloway, said: ‘Our study has revealed that patients are being given the wrong dose of up to 10 per cent of the amount they should receive which is resulting in poorer outcomes.”

He added: ‘I would struggle to think of an alternative intervention for stroke that would benefit so many patients, in so short a time, for so little money.’

The research was based on a study of 242 stroke patients at Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospitals, Charing Cross Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital, London.

Julianne Moore, a specialist in medical negligence claims at law firm Irwin Mitchell, has expressed concern over the claims that doctors may have been risking patient safety by ‘guessing’ their weight.

Expert Opinion
“Prescribing the correct dose of drug for a patient can mean the difference between a good outcome or a bad one. The idea that doctors are guessing the weight of a patient and prescribing medication based on unnecessary estimates is concerning.

“Suffering from a stroke is traumatic for a patient and their loved ones. This research highlights that patients could have a better outcome if they are weighed more accurately and getting the correct dosage of medication as a result.

“It is imperative the NHS takes heed of the findings of this report and implements the recommendations to ensure that patient safety is the number one priority.”
Julianne Moore, Partner

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.