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Medical Negligence
Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and C Diff are unfortunately all too common within the UK, with many patients falling ill simply because the healthcare environment they are in fails to comply with accepted standards. If you believe you contracted a hospital acquired infection for this reason, then you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim.

Common Types of Hospital Acquired Infection

The two most common types of hospital acquired infection are MRSA and C Difficile. These are explored in greater detail below:-

1. MRSA

Due to the high frequency rate, MRSA is probably the most well-known hospital acquired infection, and has been dubbed a hospital superbug. Many people are in fact carriers of the MRSA bacteria but do not go on to develop an infection. This is known as being colonised. However, if bacteria enter the body (for example, through a break in the skin) and reproduce, an MRSA infection will ensue. The accompanying symptoms will depend upon which part of the body is infected. Because the MRSA bacteria are resistant to some forms of antibiotic, it can be more difficult to treat than other infections.

2. C Difficile

C Difficile, otherwise known as C Diff, is a bacterium that occurs naturally in the gut. With healthy people C Diff does not cause any adverse health problems, as it is balanced out by the presence of good bacteria. However, if someone is taking antibiotics, the balance of good bacteria can be upset. This will allow the C Diff bacterium to reproduce, in turn causing the release of poisonous toxins into the body. This will leave a patient to suffer symptoms such as diahorrea and fever. Sometimes ceasing the intake of antibiotics is enough to stop the infection, although occasionally further medication will be needed.

Hospital Acquired Infections and Medical Negligence

Hospital acquired infections spread very rapidly, and thus have proved difficult to control in the past. Indeed, infections such as MRSA and C Diff thrive in hospital conditions, as there is:-

  • A greater number of people and surfaces to colonise, meaning bacteria can spread quickly;
  • A large number of people vulnerable to infection;
  • A large number of people with entry points, allowing bacteria to enter the body ie. surgical wounds or intravenous drips.

However, there are measures hospital staff must take to help prevent hospital acquired infections. For example, all patients admitted to hospital for a planned procedure must be screened for MRSA, therefore reducing the chance of any infection being passed on. Those with an infection (be it MRSA or C Diff) should be treated without delay, and if necessary should also be isolated.

Furthermore, medical professionals working within a healthcare environment are responsible for enforcing a strict hygiene policy. This means all surfaces and instruments must be kept clean and sterile, while hand should be washed regularly.

If medical professionals fail to adhere to these measures and a patient contracts a hospital acquired infection as a result, then there may be a case of medical negligence.

What Action Can You Take?

If you believe you suffered a hospital acquired infection as a direct result of medical negligence, you need to seek legal advice. A medical negligence solicitor will be able to advise you whether or not you have a claim. If you do, you could be awarded compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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