Infected wound compensation claims
This article sets out what you should know about making an infected wound compensation claim.
Although inflammation around a wound may be a good sign, slowing blood circulation and allowing healing white blood cells to flood the area to fight bacteria, medical staff should recognise the difference between normal inflammation and signs of infection.
These include swelling and pain at the wound site and it may feel hot. Some patients - including the elderly and those with diabetes - may not display obvious symptoms, therefore nursing staff may need to be extra vigilant.
Where the wound infection is deep, X-rays or an ultrasound scan may be needed to detect fluid in the wound and assess any tissue damage. A tissue biopsy may also be needed.
If you have been injured in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
If a wound is not treated by thorough cleaning and the appropriate dressing to keep the wound clean, micro-organisms introduced under the skin may multiply and cause infection.
Streptococcus A, a bacterium which occurs naturally on the skin, may be serious if it becomes invasive and is often the cause of abscesses and infected surgical wounds.
When dressings are not changed regularly the wound may not stay clean - and its healing process may not be monitored.
Some infections, such as MRSA, are resistant to antibiotics and may be acquired in hospital, through cross-contamination. This may occur when healthcare professionals neglect to carry out good hygiene practices, by not washing hands between patients or using anti-bacterial gel to minimise the risks.
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Determining the type of infection is usually done through swab tests or fine needle aspiration of any fluid in the wound. Laboratory tests will diagnose whether a wound has a bacterial or fungal infection, and which organisms are the cause. This will ensure the patient receives the correct treatment to combat the infection.
Failure to test for infected wounds and diagnose the micro-organism causing an infected wound may mean the infection spreads to other organs potentially causing sepsis (blood poisoning), which may be life-threatening.
It may be possible to claim for compensation if a patient's mismanagement of care has caused a wound to become infected, or an infection to worsen resulting in further pain, suffering or medical complications.
A healthcare professional may be deemed to have been negligent of his patient's care if:
- His misinterpretation of symptoms or inadequate examination caused him to fail to diagnose and treat an infection.
- He did not take action in response to any change in condition that may have resulted from the wound's severity.
- There were medication or documentation errors that led to an infection of either the wound or surrounding tissue.
- There was no treatment plan or documentation in place to ensure adequate wound care
- The wound was not regularly assessed at appropriate intervals to monitor its healing
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay any legal fees.
If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to your solicitor.
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About the author
Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
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