MRSA compensation claims
The following article sets out everything you should know about making a MRSA compensation claim.
Although cases of MRSA infection have reduced in recent years, there were still more than 350 cases of MRSA bloodstream infections in a recent 12 month period, recorded by NHS trusts.
Proof that an individual was infected by MRSA is not enough make a successful claim. It must also be demonstrated that the person was exposed to infection as a result of clinical negligence on the part of the hospital; demonstrating this negligence will depend on the facts of the case.
If you have been diagnosed with MRSA 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.
Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium. The term is used to refer to a bacterial infection that mainly affects people who are already unwell or debilitated, or who have a weak or compromised immune system.
As its name suggests, bacteria causing the illness are resistant to Meticillin (Methicillin), a particular group of antibiotics commonly used to treat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infections.
S. aureus is carried by 1 in 3 people - usually harmlessly - but may become a problem when people are having healthcare treatment and the skin is broken, for example during surgery or by using a drip to give fluids or drugs. This allows the bacteria to get into the bloodstream where they multiply.
Once in the bloodstream MRSA may lead to serious infections in the lung (pneumonia), bone (osteomyelitis), heart valve (endocarditis), or blood poisoning (septicaemia).
The symptoms of MRSA infection vary depending on which part of the body is infected, but there is often redness and swelling at the site of infection.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
MRSA is contracted through contact with a carrier. It is most commonly passed on via the hands - and via contaminated hospital equipment.
The NHS and other healthcare providers have introduced strict guidelines to prevent MRSA infections being introduced and containing them when they are.
These include the pre-screening of patients going into hospitals for planned procedures for MRSA and treating any "carriers" before they enter hospital.
Healthcare staff are required to observe strict hygiene practices - using alcohol based gels for hand cleaning; proper disposal of paper hospital gowns; regular sanitising of medical equipment and surfaces - all help to prevent the spread of MRSA.
Anyone developing MRSA symptoms requires urgent medical intervention. As well as treatment, a patient must be immediately isolated from other patients.
MRSA is an extremely serious infection and in some incidences can prove fatal. Hospitals and their staff have a duty of care to do everything possible to protect the health of patients.
Anyone contracting MRSA in a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare environment may have done so through the healthcare provider failing to follow strict infection control procedures.
However, as MRSA is an infection it is impossible to eradicate it entirely. For a successful claim against a healthcare provider it has to be demonstrated that it was negligent in its care of the patient.
Negligence may be proved if:
- A patient subsequently contracted MRSA having been screened as MRSA negative before admission.
- There are delays in diagnosis and treatment of an MRSA infection
- There was inappropriate treatment for the infection and other conditions, including open wounds.
- It can be proved that medical hygiene procedures were not followed correctly.
If a healthcare provider is found negligent then a claimant may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the MRSA infection and for any long term physical or psychological effects.
A MRSA No Win, No Fee compensation claim is started after the claimant signs, with a solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a CFA).
The agreement sets out the work executed by your solicitor and the "success fee" to be deducted from your damages if your claim is won.
Selecting a Quittance solicitor, you will be able to prioritise your rest and recovery, knowing that there is nothing to pay if the claim is unsuccessful.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our MRSA compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
The nationwide panel of QLS solicitors help injured people with all types of clinical negligence claims, from relatively minor claims to long-term injuries. Our lawyers are chosen for their track record in recovering compensation and their specialist knowledge.
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.
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