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Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a common complaint. Often causing a patient some degree of discomfort, kidney stones can be very uncomfortable but are nevertheless easily treated. However, sometimes mistakes are made, and a patient suffers further damage. If this has happened to you, you should contact a medical negligence solicitor for further advice.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Waste products that filter through the kidneys sometimes form small crystals. These crystals can be deposited in the kidney, and over time can build up into a hard lump this is known as a kidney stone.

It is not always apparent why kidney stones develop. Often it is due to a build-up of substances in the body, particularly calcium, ammonia, uric acid and cystine. Medical conditions such as cancer or kidney disease also increase the risk, as do medication such as aspirin, antacids, and calcium or vitamin D supplements.

Because kidney stones vary in size, the symptoms a patient will experience tend to differ. If the stone is relatively small, then a patient may not display any symptoms, and the stone will painlessly pass out of the body during urination.

In patients whose kidney stones are larger in size, symptoms may include:-

  • Intense pain in the back or side of the abdomen, and sometimes in the groin;
  • Nausea;
  • Blood in the urine;
  • Cloudy or smelly urine;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Fever;
  • Sensation of needing to urinate often, even if there is no urine to pass.

Diagnosing Kidney Stones

To diagnose kidney stones, a GP may take blood tests to determine if the kidneys are working properly, and urine tests to examine whether there are any unusual deposits. Additionally, someone with suspected kidney stones may be sent to hospital for imaging tests such as X-rays, an ultrasound scan, or an intravenous urogram (where dye is injected into a vein in the arm, which then allows any blockages to be shown on an X-ray.)

How Are Kidney Stones Treated?

If the kidney stones are small in size, then it is often possible for them to be passed via a patient's urine. If this is the case, then a patient may be sent home with instructions on how to monitor their condition.

However, those with larger kidney stones will require further treatment. Usually this will include one of the following:-

  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) where shock waves are used to break the stone down, allowing it to then pass during urination;
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) where a thin telescopic instrument is inserted into the kidney via a small incision and the stone is pulled out;
  • Ureterorenoscopy this is similar to a PCNL, but is used when stones are stuck in the ureter;
  • Surgery the last option is to perform surgery directly to the kidney.

Complications That Can Arise From Kidney Stones

Complications that arise as a result of kidney stones are relatively rare, but can include the following:-

  • Injury and/or blockage to the ureter;
  • Kidney infection;
  • Sepsis;
  • Urinary tract infection;
  • Kidney damage.

Kidney Stones And Medical Negligence

While kidney stones are often treated quickly and efficiently, sometimes there is a delay. This may be because the kidney stones were not diagnosed, and were instead mistaken for another complaint. Or it may be that the correct treatment was not performed, or was not carried out to an acceptable standard. This can cause serious complications for a patient, as untreated kidney stones can go on to cause further internal damage.

If this has happened to you or a loved one, you should seek help from a medical negligence solicitor. If it is found the care you received for your kidney stones was negligent, then you may be able to claim compensation.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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