Hypothermia is a condition which occurs due to a drop in body temperature. This could be because a person has been outdoors in extreme cold conditions or living in a home with poor heating. It can also occur if a person falls into icy or extremely cold water. The term ‘hypothermia’ is used when the normal body temperature of 37°C drops to below 35°C causing initial symptoms of shivering, fast breathing, cold skin and tiredness. Later symptoms of hypothermia include excessive shivering, delirium and eventual unconsciousness. They may also be struggling to breathe and may be confused or distressed. This condition is a medical emergency and anyone with suspected hypothermia should be taken to hospital immediately.
The patient should be kept warm and any wet clothes removed until medical help arrives. It is likely to affect babies and the elderly but it can also affect anyone who has been in cold conditions for a long period of time. Those under the influence of alcohol are more at risk. A failure to diagnose hypothermia can result in serious complications for the sufferer.
Complications if undiagnosed
Hypothermia patients may go into shock or fall into a comatose state if the condition is not diagnosed immediately. In addition, if the condition is not diagnosed, the person may suffer because of the wrong treatment. Someone may opt to put them in a warm bath for example; this can cause the sufferer to go into shock as the blood pressure may fall quickly. Severe versions of the condition can cause organ failure if untreated therefore a failure to diagnose hypothermia can result in serious consequences for the sufferer. If you or a loved one has suffered because a medical professional failed to diagnose hypothermia, you may be able to claim compensation where there is evidence someone else was at fault.
Medical negligence compensation
Accident Advice Helpline can assist you where there is evidence that medical negligence took place and your illness progressed as a result. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a failure to diagnose hypothermia, we can provide you with representation to help you make a case for compensation. Although we understand that money cannot take away a person’s suffering, it can help if you have incurred financial difficulties due to your illness. This could be because you have taken a long period of time off work or there were unforeseen expenses related to your illness. Call us on our 24-hour helpline – 0800 689 0500 – for no-obligation advice on your compensation claim.
Date Published: August 27, 2014
Author: David Brown