Hospitals and medical professionals have a duty of care to try and keep patients as safe as possible while they’re being treated. As such, hygiene standards should be as high as possible on hospital wards and in theatres to try and prevent patients from contracting infections such as MRSA. If you or a loved one has become infected in a hospital whilst being treated, this guide on hospital infection claims will show you how you could be compensated for your suffering if the infection resulted from hospital negligence and how to begin your claim.
Our team offer free support and legal advice if you are thinking about suing a hospital. Whether you’re claiming against the NHS or a private hospital, we’ll provide a no-obligation assessment of your claim where you can ask as many questions as you need. If your claim is suitable, we could pass it to a medical negligence solicitor on our team. Should they agree to seek compensation on your behalf, you won’t need to pay any legal fees unless you’re compensated because of their No Win No Fee service.
To start a hospital-acquired infection claim right away, please call our team today on 0800 6524 881. Alternatively, please continue reading this guide to find out more about your options.
Table of contents
- What Is A Hospital-Acquired Infection?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Hospital Infection Claim?
- Medical Negligence Leading To Hospital Infection Claims
- Common Hospital Infections
- How Much Compensation For A Hospital Infection Could I Claim?
- Fatal Hospital-Acquired Infections
- Evidence To Support A Hospital Infection Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming Hospital-Acquired Infection Compensation
- Starting A Hospital Infection Claim
A hospital-acquired infection is one that finds it easier to develop in hospital conditions. Some of the most vulnerable patients at risk of acquiring hospital infections include:
- Elderly or frail patients.
- Patients with underlying health conditions.
- Premature babies or sick children.
- Cancer patients and others who have weakened immune systems.
If you go into a hospital for treatment (whether emergency or planned), you’d hope that the medical team will be able to treat your condition and improve your prognosis. While this is often the case, things do sometimes go wrong during or after treatment due to clinical/medical negligence. For hospital infection claims, you might be entitled to compensation if:
- The care provided by a medical professional fell below the standards that you could reasonably expect (referred to as negligence); and
- You contracted a hospital infection which made you ill as a direct result (causation).
It’s important to point out that the above criteria mean you can only claim compensation where your suffering was caused by some form of negligence i.e. the fact you’ve been made ill by a hospital infection will not automatically entitle you to compensation.
As solicitors are not medical experts, they must rely on independent reports to ascertain whether you’ve been treated negligently. Therefore, once all of the evidence in your claim has been collected, it will be passed to a specialist who’ll review it and will essentially perform the Bolam test. This is where they will decide whether they’d have done anything differently during your hospitalisation. If they agree with the actions taken by the defendant in the case, your claim would not proceed. However, if they believe the defendant acted negligently, your solicitor would move on to work out how you’ve suffered as a result.
The types of medical negligence that might enable you to claim for a hospital-acquired infection include:
- Failure to clean or sanitise your ward regularly.
- Using dirty or infected tools during surgery.
- A lack of proper handwashing by medical professionals that treat you.
- Poor post-surgery checkups that leads to a delay in diagnosing an infection.
- If you’re not given the correct medication to treat an infection.
- Where needles, equipment or sharps are not disposed of correctly.
If you suspect that negligence led to you contracting a hospital infection, tell us what happened during a free initial consultation and we’ll give you an expert opinion of whether a compensation claim is viable.
Some of the most common hospital-acquired infections include:
- MRSA – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.
- Difficile – Clostridium Difficile.
- CPE – Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae
- E.coli – Escherichia coli.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia.
- Urinary tract infections.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of hospital infections. However, our team may be able to help you begin an MRSA claim or essentially any infection you’ve contracted while in hospital so please get in touch to let us know how you were affected.
There are many symptoms of hospital infections that can result depending on the type you’ve contracted. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Coughing and wheezing.
- Discharge from a wound.
- Vomiting, nausea or diarrhoea.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
Again, this is just a sample of the symptoms that can result in hospital infection claims. Please let us know if you’ve suffered differently and we’ll explain your options.
The way in which compensation for a hospital infection is calculated is based on how you’ve suffered physically and mentally (general damages) and any costs you’ve incurred (special damages). That means, if you win your claim, your settlement could cover:
- Any physical pain and suffering caused by the infection.
- Fear for life, distress, anxiety or other forms of mental trauma.
- Any effect your illness had on your family, hobbies or social life.
- Loss of earnings.
- Care costs.
- Medical expenses including private treatment costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Future loss of income should your long-term ability to work be reduced by the infection.
- The cost of modifying your home if you’ve been left with a permanent disability as a result of the hospital infection.
As you can see, there is plenty to consider before you file a hospital infection claim. If a medical negligence solicitor from our team takes your claim on, they’ll do all they can to try and ensure that you are fully compensated for your suffering.
In the very worst cases, hospital infections can be fatal. While we realise that no amount of money will help you to get over the loss of a loved one, compensation could help you deal with any financial impact of your loss.
If you need our help with making a fatal accident claim, we’ll discuss what happened with you compassionately and at a pace that you’re happy with. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor could help you to claim:
- Compensation for your loved one’s death (on behalf of their estate).
- Compensation if you were financially dependent on your loved one’s income, pension or benefits.
- Help towards the cost of a funeral or other costs.
Please let us know if you need our help and we’ll do all we can to support you.
The chance of winning a hospital infection claim will improve if you have evidence to prove what happened, who caused you to suffer and how you’ve been affected.
If you work with a solicitor on our team, they’ll try to secure evidence with you and on your behalf such as:
- Your medical records. As a patient, you can request your medical records, which should include details about any infections you developed while in the hospital, as well as the treatment you were given. These records can help establish a timeline of events and identify any lapses in infection prevention measures.
- CCTV footage. Hospitals may have CCTV cameras that record footage of NHS staff and patients. Therefore, if you have been recorded on CCTV you have a right to request said footage which may help demonstrate that staff members did not follow proper infection prevention procedures.
- Witness statements. Other patients or hospital staff who were present during your hospital stay may be able to provide statements about what they saw or heard. These statements can be used to support a hospital infection claim in that medical negligence contributed to your infection. Your solicitor may also ask your family or friends for a statement to explain how you’ve been affected by your illness.
You could also help by keeping a diary of how you’ve suffered because of the hospital infection including the dates you couldn’t work and any costs you’ve had to pay because of your infection.
If you have suffered as a result of a hospital-acquired infection, you will need to begin any compensation claim within the allowable time limits. This will be 3-years from either:
- The date you were infected; or
- The date your infection was diagnosed (your date of knowledge).
The latter is more likely in most hospital infection claims.
We believe it’s better to begin your claim sooner rather than later. That’s because there may be a lot of work to do before your claim can be filed. This includes gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses and arranging medical assessments.
Also, in more serious cases, the claimant might benefit from the help of a professional carer or private medical treatment. If you begin your claim early, and the defendant accepts liability for your suffering, your solicitor could ask for an interim payment to be made to cover the cost of both to try and increase the speed of your recovery.
Our team is ready if you’d like to begin a hospital infection claim. Simply call our advice centre on 0800 6524 881 and we’ll start the ball rolling. We’ll provide free legal advice and could connect you with a medical negligence solicitor from our team.
They’ll represent you on a No Win No Fee basis if your claim is taken on. That means that no legal fees need to be paid at all unless you are awarded compensation.
If you have any questions about filing a hospital infection claim, please speak to a claims advisor via our live chat.