The aim of the campaign is to create awareness of the importance of kidney health and the dangers of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in particular, which can be fatal if left untreated. Kidney disease-related mortality continues to increase and is projected to be the 5th leading cause of death by 2040. The theme of the campaign this year is ‘bridge the knowledge gap’, with organisers stating on the World Kidney Day website that:
“A persistent and ongoing CKD knowledge gap exists, one that is demonstrable at all levels of healthcare.”
The campaign suggests that obstacles to better understanding of kidney health include the complex nature of kidney disease advice and limited availability of CKD information, which leads to low public awareness. However, another barrier identified is the lack of awareness among physicians in charge of their patients’ medical condition.
That was certainly the case with Stephen Higham, a young single father of two girls, who suffered kidney failure and eventually required a transplant after being on emergency dialysis for over a year following a delay in his diagnosis and treatment. Stephen was unknowingly suffering from kidney failure for more than two years. He only found out that he had kidney problems when he finally got a blood test at the request of a locum GP and was told that he had 4% kidney function and should get straight to hospital.
Stephen was represented by Sharon Banga, clinical negligence specialist Solicitor in the Shoosmiths medical negligence team. Sharon said:
“A simple blood or urine test was all it would have taken to avoid the problems Stephen faced. Doctors seemingly didn’t consider the possibility that Stephen could have kidney failure because they assumed he was too young and too fit. His experience supports the need to raise awareness of kidney failure among medical staff as the campaign organisers suggest but also highlights the need for everyone to not only be aware of the disease, but to actively know how they can maintain their own kidney health.”
The World Kidney Day website suggests ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease at https://www.worldkidneyday.org/facts/take-care-of-your-kidneys/8-golden-rules/
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024