Can I sue the hospital where I contracted MRSA?

20 May 2013

Claire McDaid of Worthingtons Solicitors Belfast advises on circumstances in which you may have grounds to sue a hospital if you have contracted MRSA during your stay.

MRSA is a serious problem for our healthcare system and is most common post surgery where a patient has an open wound or direct IV access.

It is largely caused by poor hygiene practices and can cause delays in the healing process. In some cases it can lead to amputation or even death in more extreme circumstances.

In recent years, hospital have attempted to combat the spread of MRSA with the introduction of alcohol-based hand sanitiser beside all hospital beds to promote more frequent hand-washing, thereby preventing the spread of infection to patients.   This has been useful in reducing the spread of infection but MRSA continues to affect high numbers of patients every year.

While not every case of MRSA is directly caused by the negligence of the hospital or its medical staff, there are circumstances where a case in negligence can be established. The first hurdle is to demonstrate that the patient was infection free before being admitted to hospital and that the hospital failed to take adequate steps to prevent the spread of infection.  Pre-op screening is undertaken in some hospitals to ensure a patient is infection free prior to surgery and this can be of assistance in proving that a patient became infected in hospital.

The manner in which the MRSA was treated can also be a potential avenue to explore, particularly if you have concerns in relation to the treatment you received following diagnosis and the speed of your recovery.    MRSA cases are not straightforward and there can be difficulties in establishing liability on the part of the hospital.  That said, if you have contracted MRSA in hospital, you should seek legal advice on whether a claim is warranted.

If you or a member of your family have sustained injuries/loss while in hospital, we would be happy to speak to you to explore whether a claim for loss and damage can be pursued. Should you wish to discuss any issue in further detail, please contact Claire McDaid or Nikki McConnell who specialise in Medical Negligence in our Litigation department.

 

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