While a C Difficile infection is usually little more than unpleasant for those people who are exposed to it, it can be very serious for vulnerable individuals – especially the elderly.
If you or a loved one were struck down with C-Diff as a result of poor procedures or negligence on the part of hospital staff, we believe that you should be able to claim compensation from the Health Authority or Hospital Trust responsible.
However, it has proved to be very difficult to bring traditional compensation claims for negligently transmitted C Difficile infections because it is nearly impossible to tell exactly where and when and how a person may have been infected.
The same problem applies in cases of MRSA – and there have been some legal developments in recent MRSA cases that should help in claiming compensation in C-Diff actions.
Claimants who have contracted MRSA have had some success in bringing claims under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations [COSHH].
In fact, in a landmark ruling in 2008, Lady Clark confirmed that the regulations do apply to patients. While the case was an MRSA one, there is no reason why it should not apply to C-Diff cases.
This means that the Health Service will have to show that it took all reasonably practicable steps in terms of the regulations to protect patients.
So if we can show that the hospital failed to follow its infection control policies and that this resulted in a patient contracting C Difficile, we are likely to succeed in making the claim.
There may also be a claim against the hospital if there was:
- a negligent delay in diagnosing that a patient has been infected,
- a delay in giving the patient the treatment which he needed and to which he was entitled,
- an issue with the patient's care after diagnosis, e.g. was he given the right antibiotics and the correct treatment?