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We have specialist Medical Negligence Claim Solicitors ready to help you across the UK
MRSA, or to give it is full name, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium which causes infections which are very difficult to treat. MRSA is extremely infectious and individuals who have a weakened immune system are at a lot higher risk of contracting the infection. This is why, sadly, the infection is likely to occur when you are in hospital. If cleanliness standards are high the risk is reduced, however if cleanliness is lax, the risk of MRSA is substantially higher.
If you are already ill, contracting the MRSA infection could mean the visit to hospital that was supposed to aid your recovery could end up with you being worse off. In worst case scenarios, people have gone into hospital for minor treatment, contracted the 'super bug' and have died as a result. This is most common amongst children and the elderly, who have weaker immune systems and are at much higher risk.
Symptoms for MRSA normally relate to the skin and include:
- boils on the skin (pus filled hair follicles)
- abscesses - collections of pus in pockets under the skin
- styes - infections of glands in the eyelid
- carbuncles - these are larger infections than an abscess and usually have several openings in the skin
- cellulitis - infection of the skin and the fat and tissues that lie beneath the skin
- impetigo - a skin infection that produces blisters
- Sometimes MRSA symptoms can show as urinary tract or bloodstream infections too
What Should You Do If You Have MRSA Symptoms?
If you develop any of these MRSA Symptoms you must seek urgent medical intervention. If you are in hospital you should immediately notify the hospital staff. Once someone has contracted the infection, then urgent steps need to be taken by the hospital involved. The patient needs to be isolated and moved away from other patients. As the infection is extremely contagious, this needs to be done immediately. The site of the infection on the patient's body needs to be treated without delay. It needs to be washed and cleaned to prevent any infection spreading to other areas of the body. Everyone who comes into contact with the patient needs to ensure that they follow basic safety procedures, such as washing hands thoroughly, so as not to spread the infection. Obviously at any of these stages negligence, albeit unintentional, can cause the situation to worsen.
If you have been unwell at home for some time and start to develop these symptoms you should call your General Practitioner and explain your MRSA symptoms over the telephone so that they can take appropriate action. It is important that you receive early treatment which in most cases can avoid any serious complications.
How MRSA is Contracted
If MRSA gets into the body through a break in the skin, it can then go on to cause an infection. In extreme cases, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious infections like septicaemia (blood poisoning) and heart valve infection (endocarditis). MRSA bacteria are resistant to some of the antibiotics that are commonly used to treat infection, including methicillin (a type of penicillin).
So far, experts have uncovered 17 different strains of MRSA, all with differing degrees of immunity to the effects of various antibiotics. Two particular strains, clones 15 and 16, are thought to be more transmissible than the others, and account for 96% of MRSA bloodstream infections in the UK.
So it’s a common bacterium that, in a healthy patient, will cause a minor throat infection and probably little else. But if the body’s immune system is weakened through other illness or as a result of medical treatment such as chemotherapy, then the bacteria can take hold and a body wide infection can spread quickly. Because MRSA is treatable through the use of antibiotics, the weaker strains of the bacterium die off relatively quickly. This leaves the stronger strains, such as clones 15 and 16, room to develop. Unfortunately, these more resilient strains are immune to the effects of the majority of antibiotics used as treatment against them and so can spread quickly.
MRSA thrives in unhygienic conditions and is passed on via physical contact. This can mean that the bacteria are passed on through contact with a patient suffering from an MRSA infection, via door handles and then on to previously uninfected patients. This is why hospitals now place such an emphasis on the use of antibacterial hand gels for staff and visitors.
And that is the key word when talking about MRSA - cleanliness. If the standard of cleanliness in a ward is below par, it offers a breeding ground for a bacterium that is becoming increasingly resilient to man’s attempts at control. But the cleanliness of a ward is the direct responsibility of a hospital, which has a duty of care to provide a safe environment in which to treat vulnerable patients. If that duty of care has been allowed to slip, then there may be a point when it becomes classified as medical negligence.
If you contract the MRSA virus you are fully within your rights to make a claim through a specialist claims company. Although the infection can be treated with antibiotics, there can still be lasting effects on the patient. If you decide to make a claim then you should approach a specialist solicitor who has experience in the field of medical negligence and specifically MRSA cases. They will be able to offer advice and guide you through the claim process smoothly and easily.
MRSA Contracted In Hospitals
1 in 10 people carry MRSA harmlessly in their nose and mouth, and on their skin. To contract MRSA you must come into contact with a carrier. It is most commonly passed on via the hands - and via contaminated hospital equipment. Certain people are more at risk of MRSA than others: over 65s, HIV/AIDs sufferers, individuals taking immune system suppressant medication and people who have just had surgery.
If the case of MRSA can be traced back to the hospital itself, you may be able to make an MRSA compensation claim. This is because the hospital's cleanliness standards should be high enough to prevent as many cases of MRSA as possible. In recent years there have been a number of instances of outbreaks of MRSA in NHS run hospitals.
Results of MRSA
If you or a loved one has contracted MRSA it can seriously complicate their condition. Complications can include pneumonia, blood poisoning (septicaemia), abscesses, infections of the bone and infections of the heart. If your claim is successful you will be compensated for any pain, suffering or injury which has occurred as a direct result of the MRSA infection.
Making an MRSA Compensation Claim
When you are considering making an MRSA compensation claim this may be an extremely difficult decision for you. Often MRSA claims come following extremely stressful circumstances such as a loved one passing away. There is one important thing you should be aware of when considering making a compensation claim - there is a deadline of 3 years from the date of the incident within which to make a claim for MRSA compensation. If you enter into the claiming process after this 3 years is up you will not be able to make a compensation claim. It is possible to make a claim on behalf of a loved one, and also possible to make a claim for compensation for yourself.
Talking to an experienced solicitor who has a detailed knowledge of medical negligence claims can help you to navigate a complex and difficult legal landscape. Medical negligence claims can be protracted and fraught with problems, so the expertise of a solicitor well versed in the complexities of the law is essential. By highlighting the issue through a medical negligence claim, it can also encourage the hospital to re-examine its hygiene routines, hopefully preventing someone else from becoming just another statistic in what is ultimately a preventable problem.
How 1stClaims Can Help
1stClaims can give you expert legal advice regarding your MRSA compensation claim. We offer a free initial enquiry service to everyone so you have a chance to understand your situation and the viability of your claim. If you talk to a 1stClaims MRSA solicitor and decide you want to continue with a claim, we will support you every step of the way.
We are here to help you from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday,
8.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sundays.
What Happens Next?
Complete a Quick Claim Enquiry and this is what you will benefit from:
- Advice on whether you can make a claim and how the claims process works from a specialist claims solicitor;
- Compensation - what can you claim for and how much are you likely to receive;
- Costs - whether you will qualify for a no win no fee claim or details of other methods for funding your claim; and
- An explanation of what will happen next if you decide to carry on and make a claim (how your solicitor will take care of everything for you).
All on a free, no obligation Quick Claim Enquiry Advice Call.
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