Hospitals should be somewhere you go when you are ill or have had an accident in order to receive treatment that will enable you to recover as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, for some patients a stay in hospital can result in an infection and an extended period of convalescence, or even having to deal with longer-term health problems. If this happens to you then you might ask the question “Can I claim for a hospital infection?” Contact our team here at Accident Advice Helpline to find out if you are able to claim compensation.
There are strict hygiene controls in place in hospitals to ensure that infections cannot spread. However, some patients may develop an infection as the result of medical negligence while in hospital. Infectious ‘superbugs’ include:
- C difficile (Clostridium difficile or C-diff);
- MSSA (methicillin-susceptible staphylococcus aureus);
- VRSA (vancomycin-resistant staphylococcus aureus);
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus);
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa; and
- GRE (glycopeptide-resistant enterococci).
Poor standards of hygiene in hospitals, lack of awareness among staff and even staff shortages have been linked to outbreaks of infections.
If you have suffered from an infection after a stay in hospital, you may be able to claim compensation for medical negligence if:
- You were screened for MRSA or another infection when you went into hospital and were found to be clear from infection;
- There were delays in diagnosing and treating the infection;
- The infection was not treated properly once it was detected; or
- There was an inappropriate use of antibiotics, poor care or a lack of monitoring.
Lack of hand washing, improper disposal of infected tools and materials, and unclean facilities prior to patient use can all be forms of medical negligence which can have terrible consequences for the patient.
Hospital acquired infection
A hospital acquired infection is common in patients who have an opening in their skin, typically a surgical wound, burn or catheter entry point, where bacteria can more easily enter the body. Additionally, hospital patients tend to be more vulnerable due to more complex and aggressive conditions, and are constantly surrounded by large numbers of people, which allows infections to spread more easily.
A number of factors can affect the value of your claim, including:
- The type of injury or illness that you have sustained;
- Whether you are able to fully recover from the illness or if it has been the cause of a long-term deterioration in your health; and
- How much of a financial loss you have suffered.
Compensation can be claimed for the following, if they are as a result of your illness:
- Loss of earnings;
- Medical and nursing costs;
- Other expenses resulting from your injury, including travel expenses incurred whilst receiving medical treatment;
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity; and
- Special equipment needed to carry out day-to-day activities and any costs involved in adapting your home.
Here at Accident Advice Helpline, we can help you to answer the question “Can I claim for a hospital infection?” Simply call us for free on 0800 698 0500, or from a mobile on 0333 500 0993, and speak to one of our friendly and experienced team members.
Date Published: February 15, 2014
Author: David Brown