SUPERBUG

S5 Recent Reports on some of our Hospitals and Care facilities have made very disconcerting reading and serve to remind us of how vulnerable we are when in the care of others.  Particularly frightening are the incidences of MRSA in some of our hospitals. We all play a part in eradicating this devastating superbug. It is important to understand that the mere presence of MRSA in a hospital or care facility is not of itself evidence of wrongdoing on the part of that facility or its staff.

However, it has been found that MRSA is a particularly insidious bug that flourishes where there are poor hygiene practices. Civil Litigation plays a vital role in securing compensation for victims of  sub- standard care and leads to beneficial reforms.

Compensation Claims are generally initiated where it is alleged that MRSA infection is the result of substandard care in a Hospital or Care Home. It must be proven on the balance of probabilities that the infection was acquired in the facility, that there was negligence in the treatment of the patient and that it was this sub-standard care that led to the infection being contracted. A Hospital is expected to take all reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of infection. A Hospital’s MRSA Policies and Guidlines will be critically reviewed in this context.

Compensation Claims have also been brought in respect of sub-standard treatment of a patient after he or she has already contracted the infection. In those circumstances, the question is whether there was negligence in the management of the infection.

When a Court awards compensation, it will consider the pain and suffering endured by the Patient , the loss of amenity and the financial losses to include potential future losses. As a general rule, litigation must be commenced within 2 years of  the acts of negligence which are conplained of.

In Ireland, the first MRSA compensation payout in six figures was made in 2008 to a young man infected during a routine operation. The unfortunate victim had to undergo two additional operations and a number of skin grafts. In this particular case, a leading UK Microbiologist concluded that the infection had been caused by a healthcare worker who was not wearing gloves.

We all have a role to play in defeating MRSA and it can be tha little things that make the difference.

 

* In contentious business a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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