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Hospital-acquired infections are common in the United Kingdom. Infections like MRSA and Clostridium Difficile are known as hospital-acquired infections because they occur mostly in healthcare environments. This is because when we have an open wound such as after surgery, or when our immune systems are weakened, we are more susceptible to infection.

Acquiring an infection in hospital doesn’t necessarily mean there has been negligence and only in certain cases can a clinical negligence claim be brought. If you have concerns about your treatment and are not sure whether you may have suffered negligence, we will be able to advise you.

MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

There are many strains of Staphylococcus Aureus, a bacteria that normally lives on our skin and doesn’t cause us any health problems. Problems occur when it gets into the bloodstream through a cut or broken skin, cannulae, urinary catheters, “stents” or “pegs” and bedsores. Some of these bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics such as Methicillin. MRSA is particularly feared in hospitals as it can cause an extremely wide range of serious disease, such as pneumonia, septicaemia, bone infections and toxic shock.

C Diff (Clostridium Difficile)

Clostridium difficile is the major cause of hospital-acquired diarrhoea in many countries where it can cause life-threatening illness, especially in the elderly and patients with underlying disease. Clostridium difficile is commonly found in the large intestine and infections usually occur following long-term antibiotic therapy that kills other bacterial competitors, allowing Clostridium difficile to take over. It produces toxins that inflame the colon, causing diarrhoea.

Claims relating to hospital-acquired infections

It is often difficult to prove that an infection was acquired negligently, as infections can be acquired non-negligently. We have to show that there was a failure to follow appropriate infection control procedures and/or a failure to have an adequate infection control policy and that this caused the infection complained of. For example, the patient may not have been isolated; there may be poor hand-washing between patients and inappropriate hygiene; a lack of pre-operative screening; or admission for a non-emergency procedure when an infection such as MRSA is known to be an issue in the theatre or ward.

Treatment of infections

Cases are more likely to succeed if we are able to prove that the treatment of the infection was substandard. We look to see whether inappropriate treatment has been provided such as not swabbing soon enough; prescribing inappropriate antibiotics; or failing to remove metal work (this allows introduction of the infection to the bone/joint, which makes the infection deeper and is harder to treat).

If you have concerns about how your infection was treated, please talk to one of our team to find out whether we could help investigate your case for you.

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Kiran Jalota
Head of Medical Negligence and Personal Injury

Kiran's role is to recover necessary compensation for victims of negligence who have suffered physical and/or psychological injury & other consequential loss. Read more

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With effect from Thursday 5th November 2020

Please be assured that during the month long national lockdown, effective from Thurs 5th November, all of our offices remain open for business and staff will be available to assist from 9.00am – 5.30pm.

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