Solicitors Specialising in MRSA and Other Superbug Negligence Claims
MRSA – what is it?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus and it is a superbug that exists in many hospitals. At its worst, it can lead to amputation, delay patients’ recovery times and even kill. There are other superbugs around that can have similar effects, but MRSA is the best well-known.
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MRSA – who does it affect?
The superbug most often affects patients who have recently had surgery, but it can also have an impact on people who have direct IV access or open wounds. Generally, MRSA is avoidable and it is most commonly spread through poor hygiene practices in hospitals.
Previously, hospitals maintained that they were not to blame when MRSA spread. However, recent decisions from the Courts suggest that this line is not always upheld. This means that medical negligence compensation claims can, in appropriate cases, be bought against hospitals in cases where a patient has suffered from MRSA. MRSA and other superbug claims can sometimes be difficult to prove, though, so you should always seek legal advice and a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you’re considering such a claim.
Simple medical procedures as straightforward as hip replacement, for example, can become extremely dangerous due to the possibility of contracting an infectious disease which increasingly useless antibiotics would not treat.
MRSA can cause skin infections and can be hard to recover from as it becomes antibiotic resistant. Recovery from this superbug can be difficult and many people can be left with scarring or even permanent disabilities. It’s estimated that around 1000 people die every year due to MSRA infections.
Superbugs – the big picture
The overuse of antibiotics over the last 70 years means that bacteria are now increasingly resistant to certain drugs. We have already seen penicillin become an ineffective treatment method for various bacterial infections and it is feared that many other antibiotics will become useless. Recent MRSA outbreaks have clearly shown that a range of terrible conditions can arise if drugs become ineffective.
Unfortunately, whilst multiple infectious diseases are discovered every year, a very limited number of new antibiotics have been developed in recent times. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have struggled to find new anti-bacterial drugs and as a result patients have had to settle for drugs which either fail to adequately solve the problem, or leave them with nasty side effects.
But the MRSA and superbug problem remains a very real threat. Ways of improving research into new antibiotics need to be explored further.
Proving MRSA Claims
If you are going to make a medical negligence claim against a hospital on the grounds that you contracted MRSA, you need to prove that the hospital was at fault. This could include:
• Proving that you contracted MRSA at the hospital and not elsewhere
• Demonstrating that hospital staff did not follow proper hygiene procedures
• Demonstrating that once the hospital had discovered your MRSA, they did not take the proper steps to limit its impact on you
• Demonstrating how your recovery in hospital would have been improved or quicker if you had not caught MRSA while you were there
It can often be hard to prove that the hospital was at fault in terms of you catching a superbug – as a result, many MRSA claims kind tend to focus on inadequate care from the hospital following the detection of the problem. This, however, also needs to be proved and so the cases are not always straightforward.
Preventing the spread of MRSA
Did you realise that as much as 30% of the population could be carrying Staphylococcus Aureus on their skin and still be healthy; however, Meticillin Resistant Stapphylococcus Aureus (as MRSA is more properly known) is far more serious and can be contracted in the UK’s healthcare facilities including hospitals and nursing homes. Up to 3% of the population are thought to be infected with MRSA, a bacterium which is stubbornly resistant to most antibiotics and can have serious symptoms.
The bug can spread easily through direct contact with another individual, through a ward, or through contaminated clinical equipment for example. The Department of Health is in charge of the surveillance of MRSA but tackling the ‘superbug’ has proved difficult. Unfortunately, it is the most vulnerable patients who are at the most risk of contracting MRSA and are worst affected by it.
In order to prevent the bug spreading and in order to treat it effectively, it is important that it is diagnosed early. Although no single method of tacking the spread of MRSA has been successful, studies have concluded that various methods used in conjunction can help prevent further infection. Improving surveillance of the bug, isolating infected patients away from others and taking more caution when in contact with patients are some of the methods hospitals can use.
Improving hand hygiene is also crucial and many hospitals now provide hand sanitizers on all wards for both the public and for staff. It is now thought that MRSA is most commonly contracted following contact with the hands of medical staff. Even when gloves are worn, hands can become colonised with the bacterium, so hand washing after the gloves are taken off is important.
Every patient admitted to hospital for a pre-arranged procedure should now be screened for the bug prior to being admitted but the following steps should also be taken:
• Keeping wards clean and tidy
• Keeping the environment clean
• Wearing gloves when treating wounds and then thoroughly washing hands following removal of gloves
• Using disinfectant to clean surfaces in examination areas
• Disposing of materials that come into contact with bodily fluids carefully
Get in touch with our MRSA Solicitors today
If you have caught MRSA or another superbug and think that it was due to medical negligence, speak to one of our specialist MRSA Solicitors.
We can review your case and, if we think you have a claim, we will help you in moving that the hospital was in some way at fault.
- Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
- Or use the email contact form below