Our public and private hospital institutions provide an invaluable service 365 days per year for those with urgent and non-urgent medical needs. Indeed, hospitals go to great lengths to ensure the quality and safety of the facilities they provide, including, in so far as possible, controlling the spread of infection. By adopting and applying measures to ensure a sterile environment where needed, hospital acquired infections are thankfully rare. However, in some cases, patients suffer infections as a direct result of the care they have provided. If this due to medical negligence, then the person affected may be entitled to seek remedy.
What causes hospital acquired infections?
There are several organisms which hospitals work extremely hard to screen and control, including:
- Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): MRSA is carried on the skin and poses a risk when that skin is cut open or punctured. This can lead to wound infections and septicaemia.
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff, C. difficile): diff commonly resides in the human gut. There are various strains of C. diff, with some causing more serious illnesses than others.
- Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE): CPE is carried on the skin and in the gut and can (in more vulnerable patients) lead to urine infections, wound infections, pneumonia and septicaemia
Infections may occur in surgical wounds, or the respiratory, genitourinary or gastrointestinal systems, and can be spread through contact with individuals, non-sterilised instruments or medical equipment, unsanitary facilities, airborne organisms from other sick patients, or present within the food or water provided to patients.
What are the health impacts of hospital acquired infections?
Hospital acquired infections in many cases are far more than a mere inconvenience, delaying discharge. Such complications can have a multitude of implications for the health of patients. The speed of recovery for patients may be significantly impaired should infection occur, especially if new conditions arise as a result, or existing medical conditions become worse. In many patients, it is common to see multi-organ dysfunction, meaning that several organs are damaged in succession as a result of the infection. Patients may be impacted as a result of their infection for life, depending on the extent and severity. Some evidence also suggests patients with MRSA have higher rates of hospital readmission. And furthermore, in more extreme case, infections are known to increase the risk of patient death in cases whereby the body is overwhelmed.
Can I bring a claim for hospital acquired infection due to medical negligence?
To bring a claim for a hospital acquired infection due to clinical negligence, it will be necessary to prove:
- The standard of care you received fell below a satisfactory standard, and;
- This negligence caused damage or injury.
To prove your case, we will compile evidence including medical records, and where necessary, seek expert medical opinion.
What may a hospital acquired infection medical negligence claim cover?
Claims following a diagnosis of hospital acquired infection due to medical negligence may cover two areas of loss:
- Pain and suffering due to the injury;
- Specific costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses, such as physical therapy and care costs. The costs you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered and the circumstances of the case.
How Lavelle Partners, Medical Negligence Solicitors can assist you to bring a claim
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of hospital acquired infection due to medical negligence.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
- We will answer any subsequent questions and/or provide further information if required.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important, your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.
For further information on making a claim following medical negligence resulting in a hospital acquired infection in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]