Hospital acquired infections perhaps get more coverage in the news media than any other medical negligence related subject. Most people have heard of MRSA, for example, even if they do not know what it means and what the exact symptoms are.
Just because a patient contracts MRSA or any other hospital acquired infection whilst in hospital, it does not necessarily mean that the treatment provided by the hospital must have been below an acceptable standard (ie. negligent). This is because such infections are difficult to prevent and control even with proper hygiene management procedures in place in the hospital, and some of these infections can be carried by people even before they come into hospital.
Nevertheless, where a patient has contracted a hospital acquired infection whilst an inpatient at a hospital that has not put in place and/or enforced strict procedures to combat MRSA, Clostridium difficile (C-diff) etc then a successful medical negligence claim may result.
Elsewhere on this page you will find links to a more detailed description of several hospital acquired infections, of which perhaps the two most well known are:
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) – this infection is resistant to antibiotics, including penicillin based drugs. It is therefore very difficult to get under control once it has taken hold (which is typically within 72 hours of the first symptoms such as a fever and the appearance of small red bumps in the skin). Once MRSA gets into the tissue of a patient with an already weakened immune system it can be fatal.
Clostridium difficile (C-difficile) – a type of bacteria that causes severe diarrhoea, amongst other things. A small percentage of the general population have this bacteria naturally occurring in their intestine but do not suffer any symptoms due to the fact that other “good” bacteria in the intestine counteract it. However, a patient in hospital may have had to be treated with certain antibiotics (for another infection) which destroy the “good” bacteria and this allows the C-diff to take hold.
Necrotising Faciitis, which is also known as the "Flesh Eating Bug", is a bacterial infection of the skin and fascia (the thin layer of tissue that covers muscles). Once the infection takes hold it spreads very quickly and often with extremely serious consequences. The bacteria does not "eat" the skin/tissue but in fact it releases toxins that cause the tissue around it to die.ou need it most.
Klebsiella bacter is a rod shaped bacteria which are found in the natural environment and also in one’s intestinal tract. There are a number of different strains, the most common being Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia if the bacteria gets into the lungs. This normally happens outside of a hospital environment..
At Metcalfes our Medical Negligence team will talk to you about the experience that you have been through in hospital, including your impressions of the cleanliness of the wards; whether hospital staff routinely washed their hands; what infection you contracted whilst in hospital and, following that, how quickly (and in what ways) the hospital then tried to get your infection under control. If we are able to take on your medical negligence claim we will then take you through what the immediate next steps are and how your claim is likely to be funded.
Our Medical Negligence team at Metcalfes is experienced in handling claims for clients who have sustained injury as a result of hospital acquired infection. So, if you or someone you know has suffered such injury then contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.