Have you contracted MRSA in hospital?
If you or a loved one have contracted MRSA as a result of medical negligence, you could have a valid MRSA compensation claim
How Much Could You Claim?

MRSA Compensation Claims

If you or a loved one has suffered from MRSA in the past three years, you could be entitled to make a no win no fee MRSA compensation claim. At InjuryClaims.co.uk, the solicitors we work in partnership with have vast experience in helping people claim compensation for all types of medical negligence.

MRSA is a type of bacteria that has developed resistance to several of the most widely used antibiotics. Although cases of MRSA infections continue to decrease, there are still hundreds of people that suffer from MRSA recorded each year by the NHS. Poor hygiene standards in hospitals and care homes are the most common cause of contracting the infection.

To make a successful MRSA claim, it will be necessary to prove that the hospital or another party was negligent in their duty towards you. Your medical negligence solicitor will support you in gathering all the evidence required to pursue compensation.

To get started with a free consultation, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into our online claim form, and a legal adviser will be in touch shortly to discuss your claim.

What is MRSA?

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is an infectious bacterium which is sometimes called a superbug due to having developed resistance to several widely used antibiotics. This makes an MRSA infection more difficult to treat and easier to spread and can become life-threatening.

MRSA infections usually occur in people who are already ill and, most often, those who are staying as an inpatient in a hospital. It is most likely to be contracted by those who are weak or whose immune system is compromised.

Methicillin is the name given to a group of antibiotics that are usually used to combat Staphylococcus aureus infections. Nonetheless, decades of reckless use of antibiotics have contributed to the rise of MRSA. These bacteria, as suggested by the name, are resistant to these antibiotics and can cause significant damage if an infection occurs.

Staphylococcus aureus is carried by 1 in 30 people and usually causes them no harm, even if it enters the body through a cut or wound. MRSA infections commonly affect hospitalised people, especially if they have a pre-existing health condition or a weak immune system.

When such people are receiving treatment, bacteria can enter their bloodstream when their skin is broken, such as after an operation or injury. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can multiply with devastating effects. It can lead to complications such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bone infections (osteomyelitis)
  • Septicaemia
  • Heart valve infections

People staying in hospitals are more at risk of developing an MRSA infection because:

  • They often have wounds, burns, feeding tubes, urinary catheters or other ways for the bacteria to get into the body;
  • They often have other health problems, so the body is less able to fight the bacteria;
  • They are in close contact with a large number of people, which makes it easier to contract MRSA.

MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections can be prevented by taking some simple steps, such as:

  • Carry our screening and testing for MRSA before admission to a hospital
  • Wash your hands often, especially after going to the toilet and before eating
  • Follow the advice given to you about wound care and devices such as a catheter that may cause an infection
  • Report any concerns you have about hygiene and unclean facilities to the hospital staff
  • If you suspect an infection, seek early medical care

An MRSA infection can have devastating consequences with long-term health issues and can even be fatal. If your condition was due to substandard care or negligence, you might be entitled to claim MRSA compensation from the responsible party.

What are the symptoms of MRSA?

Staph infections, MRSA included, usually start as swollen, red and painful bumps on the skin that might look like pimples or spider bites. The affected area can develop into painful boils that may show the following symptoms:

  • Warm to the touch
  • Filled with pus or another drainage
  • Painful and sore
  • Accompanied by a fever

If the MRSA gets into the bloodstream, it can quickly multiply and cause severe and life-threatening infections in other parts of the body such as bones, joints, lungs, bloodstream or heart valves. If it gets further into the body, the bacteria can cause:

  • Chills
  • Aches and pains
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • A high fever of over 38C
  • Muscular pain
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain and increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath and increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue

Depending on where in the body the MRSA might settle, it can give rise to severe complications like:

  • Infections of the heart valves
  • Blood infections
  • Breast mastitis
  • Abscesses in the spine, spleen or kidneys
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin necrosis

If you suspect an MRSA infection, you should seek immediate medical advice to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Doctors diagnose MRSA by checking nasal secretions or a tissue sample for signs of drug-resistant bacteria. If an infection is confirmed, the bacteria will be tested for antibiotic resistance to determine which drugs can be used to treat it.

Can I make an MRSA claim?

MRSA infections can be very severe and result in life-threatening complications. In the UK, all medical staff must protect the health and safety of patients by providing a reasonable standard of care. They are expected to:

  • Identify the early signs of an MRSA infection
  • Provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment
  • Keep all facilities clean and disinfected
  • Provide proper wound care to patients
  • Check for MRSA before admitting a patient to the hospital
  • Bathe patients with antibacterial shampoo and soap
  • Follow strict hygiene and personal protective equipment procedures

While a simple diagnosis is not enough for a valid MRSA claim, your solicitor will make sure you have enough proof to secure compensation. As a general rule, a personal injury claim is possible if:

  • Someone else owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty by acting negligently
  • You suffered an injury or illness as a result, in this case, an MRSA infection
  • This has caused you substantial pain and suffering

To make a successful MRSA compensation claim, you need strong evidence that you contracted an infection due to someone else’s negligence and that this has caused you significant losses. Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need to take legal action, and you can help by providing:

  • Photographs showing any visible injuries caused by the MRSA infection;
  • Pictures that show the hygiene standards in the hospital or care home where you contracted the infection, such as dirty linen or waste that was not properly disposed of;
  • The names and wards of the healthcare professionals who diagnosed and treated you;
  • Medical records regarding your hospitalisation and the treatments you received;
  • A medical report from an independent professional that your solicitor will arrange for you;
  • Your notes detailing how you think you contracted MRSA and how this has affected your life;
  • Contact details of any other patients that could give a statement about the hospital conditions or have also contracted the bacteria;
  • Evidence detailing the financial losses and expenses you incurred due to the MRSA infection, such as receipts, pay slips and invoices.

The easiest way to find out if you are eligible to make an MRSA claim is a consultation with an experienced legal adviser. To get a free assessment, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details, and you will receive a call back with no obligation to proceed with the claim.

Medical negligence and MRSA

MRSA spreads after contact with a carrier and is usually transmitted through hand contact or hospital equipment that has not been adequately sanitised. The law states that the NHS and other healthcare providers must provide safe and clean environments for treatment and recovery.

This is essential as infections such as MRSA can be fatal. There are strict guidelines in place to ensure that the industry knows how to prevent MRSA and what to do if the infection is found.

Hospitals should take several measures to prevent MRSA from entering the area, including:

  • Pre-screening patients before procedures are carried out and treating those who carry MRSA before they arrive at the hospital;
  • Following strict hygiene practices that include how and when hands, equipment and surfaces should be cleaned and how surgical staff conduct procedures;
  • Having a robust waste disposal process in place to remove medical waste that might carry the bacterium;
  • If a patient contracts MRSA, they must be treated with urgency and isolated without hesitation from other patients to prevent the spread of the infection.

Although these guidelines are usually followed in hospitals, staff can sometimes fail to protect the health and safety of patients. If this has been your case, an experienced personal injury solicitor could help you file an MRSA compensation claim against the negligent party.

Some ways in which you could contract an infection in a hospital include:

  • Being touched by someone carrying the MRSA, such as a nurse or another patient;
  • Through invasive devices like catheters or feeding tubes that were not properly sterilised;
  • Through infected equipment that was not properly disinfected before use;
  • Failure to remove the bacteria from a person’s skin during hospitalisation.

MRSA claims following hospital negligence

If MRSA is contracted by a patient receiving care in a hospital, care home or any other healthcare environment, a claim for MRSA compensation may be possible. To make a successful case, you must prove that the hospital or a healthcare provider breached their duty to maintain a safe environment or that the infection control procedures were not followed properly.

MRSA cannot be completely eradicated from healthcare settings, so for a claimant to be successful, they must be able to prove that hospital negligence on the part of the healthcare provider occurred. Some examples of situations that could lead to a successful claim include:

  • The patient suffered a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis, so treatment for MRSA was not provided promptly;
  • MRSA was contracted by the patient after an MRSA screening was negative before the admission of the patient;
  • Hygiene standards were not adequate in the healthcare setting;
  • Treatment was not provided appropriately for the patient’s needs; for example, wounds were not properly dressed;
  • You were not informed about the risks of MRSA before consenting to surgery.

If your solicitor believes you have a valid MRSA claim, they will consult with medicolegal experts to determine that the care you received was below the standard accepted in the field. This involves proving:

  • A duty of care is an obligation of all medical staff to provide the same level of care as a skilful and knowledgeable professional with the same level of training would under the same circumstances.
  • A breach of duty occurs if a healthcare professional fails to do something of their responsibility, such as following proper hygiene practices in the hospital.
  • Causation refers to the direct link between the breach of duty and the MRSA infection. If the hospital staff acted negligently without causing you an injury, your claim would not stand.
  • Damages refer to all the pain, suffering and financial losses caused by the MRSA infection. In an MRSA claim, you are entitled to claim compensation for all the damages you have evidence of.

Once you have established negligence, your solicitor will contact the other side and inform them of your intentions to claim MRSA compensation. If they admit liability, you can begin to negotiate a settlement that is fair for the pain and suffering you have been through. Otherwise, you will have to issue court proceedings and argue your case in court.

Time limit to claim MRSA compensation

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to start an MRSA claim from the date you first became aware that you contracted the bacteria. Afterwards, your case becomes statute-barred, and it is unlikely you will be able to proceed.

In certain circumstances, the time limit might be different from the typical three-year period, for example:

  • When the victim is a child, the three-year time limit to claim is suspended until they turn 18. Before that point, a litigation friend, which is usually a parent or guardian, could claim on their behalf at any time.
  • There is no time limit to start an MRSA claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to handle their case. This could be due to a brain injury, intellectual disability, mental health disorder or any other condition that might affect a person’s ability to conduct legal proceedings.
  • If you lost a loved one due to an MRSA infection, you could claim compensation within three years from the date of death or when a post-mortem confirmed the cause of death.
  • If you contracted an infection while receiving medical treatment abroad, you might still be entitled to claim MRSA compensation. However, the time limit is subject to each country’s laws and could be much shorter than three years.

As a general rule, the sooner you seek legal advice, the easier it is to gather evidence for an MRSA claim. Furthermore, preparing a case can take a lot of time, and most solicitors will not take on a case with less than six months left to the claim limitation date.

If you would like to get a free assessment of your case to find out if you have a valid MRSA claim, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back by entering your details into the contact form below.