26 Feb Hospital infection claims
Hospital staff are always careful to ensure the safety of their patients. But sometimes things go wrong and patients contract infections while receiving care. This can be unavoidable, but other times it is caused by the negligence of healthcare staff. Have you suffered from a hospital-acquired infection which was preventable? Contact Ferrys Medical Negligence Solicitors for advice on hospital infection claims.
What are hospital-acquired infections?
Hospital-acquired infections can be contracted from staff or the environment in a hospital. Most infections which appear 48 hours after hospital admission are considered to be hospital-acquired.
Infections can spread to patients through contact with staff, non-sterilised equipment, non-sterilised instruments, unsanitary facilities or proximity to other patients with airborne infections.
Hospital-acquired infections can delay recovery and discharge. They can also harm people’s health and, in rare cases, prove fatal.
Examples of hospital-acquired infections
According to the HSE, the most common hospital-acquired infections are:
- Surgical site infections – Not always preventable, these can result in swelling and pain. They can be superficial or affect the tissue and muscle. Exposure to MRSA, for example, can lead to wound infections and septicaemia.
- Pneumonia – This often occurs in patients on life-support machines or ventilators as germs pass through the tubes to the lungs. Pneumonia can be severe and sometimes even fatal.
- Urinary tract infections – This often occurs in patients who have a catheter tube inserted into their bladder. Catheters should only be used as needed and removed asap.
- Bloodstream infections – When germs enter the blood through a drip in the vein, it can cause very serious or fatal illness. Symptoms can include fevers, chills and vomiting.
- Gastroenteritis – Caused in hospitals by Clostridium difficile bacteria and the winter vomiting bug, this inflammation of the bowel causes diarrhoea, vomiting and cramps.
When to pursue hospital infection claims
Hospital infection claims come under medical negligence claims. Negligence occurs when medical professionals fail to provide a high standard of care and harm a patient. They can be at fault if they make a mistake while treating a patient.
In terms of hospital infection claims, a patient may be able to claim compensation if their illness was caused by:
- A lack of hygiene in the hospital
- A failure to follow procedures
- A failure to sterilise equipment
These medical negligence claims are stronger if an infection was also diagnosed or treated incorrectly. To make a claim, you need to be able to show that:
- You didn’t have the infection before admission – you may have been screened on entry
- The infection caused you injury or harm
- The infection was caused by medical negligence and wouldn’t have occurred in the hands of a competent professional
Sometimes infection after surgery or treatment is unavoidable. If you contracted an infection but received top-class care, you can’t bring forward a claim. For this reason, it’s difficult to prove medical negligence.
Want to find out more about hospital infection claims?
If you suffered because of a hospital-acquired infection and believe negligent care was to blame, our expert team can advise you. They will discuss your infection, treatment and injuries before consulting an independent medical consultant who will determine if you have a case.