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The latest Government figures show that in 2012, 292 people died as a result of MRSA in the UK as a whole. In Scotland alone there were 48 deaths in which MRSA was identified as the main or a contributory cause of death.

What is MRSA?

MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

Methicillin is a powerful antibiotic and Staphylococcus Aureus is a common type of bacteria. Repeated use of antibiotics to treat Staphylococcus infections has led to several strains becoming resistant to nearly all antibiotics. These resistant strains are called MRSA.

MRSA is found on the skin of many healthy individuals and usually causes no major problems. However if it gets inside the body, perhaps through an open wound, it can cause infections such as:

  • boils and abscesses
  • impetigo (an infectious skin disease)
  • cellulitis (an infection of the skin and the fat and tissues that lie immediately beneath it)
  • septic wounds
  • chest or urinary tract infections
  • lung infection (pneumonia)
  • septicaemia (blood poisoning)
  • septic shock (widespread infection of the blood that leads to a fall in blood pressure and organ failure)
  • infection of the heart lining (endocarditis)
  • severe joint problems (septic arthritis)
  • bone marrow infection (osteomyelitis)
  • inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), and
  • toxic shock syndrome (a rare, serious bacterial infection).

These infections might be caused by something other than MRSA, so laboratory testing is the only sure way to tell if you have MRSA.

Although many people will be carriers of MRSA and will suffer from no symptoms, unfortunately hundreds of deaths a year are linked to the microbe, and many more people left seriously injured after getting the infection.

Here are a few MRSA-related facts:

  • MRSA is cited on the death certificates of more than 1,000 people every year, with thousands more left severely ill or disabled by the infection
  • MRSA can affect anybody, regardless of age. There have even been recent instances of MRSA involving babies and young adults
  • Good hygiene can do a lot to prevent the spread of MRSA. Regular and thorough hand washing and drying – especially before moving on to a new patient - has been shown to be the single most important measure in reducing cross-infection
  • Some serious MRSA infections can be fatal. However, most of those who die with an MRSA infection are already seriously ill with another medical condition
  • MRSA is prevalent in the community and can be carried by people without causing any detriment to their health
  • Patients undergoing surgical procedures or who require catheters or drips are vulnerable to infection if Health Authority policies and procedures are not followed.
  • It is mainly transmitted by poor hygiene in hospitals and contributed to by the lack of barrier nursing facilities in hospitals.

MRSA Carrier Compensation Claims

If you or a loved one contracted the MRSA virus in hospital and the hospital was in any way unclean, or staff failed to follow their own infection control policies or cleanliness procedures, then you may have a claim for compensation. But it is a very complicated area.

It is very hard to prove that an MRSA infection was caused as a result of negligence rather than simply your being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

In order for an MRSA carriers claim to be viable it is likely that you will need to prove the following:

  • That the infection was acquired in the hospital or clinic where you were treated
  • That the treatment received fell below accepted standards
  • That you would not otherwise have contracted MRSA
  • That you have sustained injury or loss

Can I Claim Compensation for a MRSA Infection?

If you were infected with MRSA as a result of poor procedures or negligence on the part of hospital staff, we believe that you should be able to claim compensation for the harm you have suffered.

However, it has proved to be very difficult to bring traditional compensation claims for negligently transmitted MRSA infections because it is nearly impossible to tell exactly where and when and how a person may have been infected.

Because of this many compensation lawyers have taken a new approach, and are pursuing the NHS in MRSA claims by using legislation more common to industrial disputes.

The legislation in question is the Control of Substances Harmful to Health Regulations (COSHH), which requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. The argument goes that MRSA comes under such a definition and if it applies to staff it should also apply to patients in hospitals.

In a landmark ruling in 2008, Lady Clark agreed, holding that the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 1999 Regulations (now superseded by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 Regulations)  not only apply to employees in the Health Service but also to patients.

This means that the Health Service now has to show that it took all reasonably practicable steps in terms of the regulations to protect patients. The regulations go far beyond the duty of reasonable care and common law of the NHS, and should make compensation claims easier to prove.

Our lawyers are among the leading specialists in MRSA carriers compensation claims in Scotland. As such, you can be assured of receiving meaningful advice, support and representation for a claim for MRSA contracted in any of the following situations:

  • Through infection via an open wound
  • Through a failure to provide proper screening procedures
  • Through a failure to ensure sanitary surfaces or equipment
  • Through failure to follow best hygiene practice

Furthermore, our lawyers can help in the event that a hospital or clinician has caused unnecessary suffering through a late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of the condition.

MRSA Compensation Claim Lawyers

Thompsons Solicitors is the leading personal injury legal firm in the country. We are rated number one by legal directory “Legal 500” and have an excellent success rate, winning over 90% of our cases.

We are experts in our field and while we can’t make you better, we can help you claim compensation for the injury done to you, so that you and your family can cope better with the situation you face.

To find out more, give us a call today on 0800 0891331 and talk things through with one of our specialist No Win No Fee lawyers, free of charge and with no obligation.

MRSA Compensation Claims FAQS

MRSA poses a risk to individuals of all ages. Newborn babies have become infected via their umbilical cords and in a recent case a 27 year old was infected during an operation on his broken leg.

Yes, however, instances of MRSA are particularly high in the UK.

Yes, if hospitals follow their own hygiene and cleanliness standards, including isolating MRSA sufferers, then there is no reason why MRSA cannot be eradicated.

A high standard of hygiene and cleanliness is the primary requirement to avoid further circulation of MRSA.

MRSA tends only to be deadly when individuals are already suffering from a serious illness.

The surge in MRSA can be put down broadly to 2 things.

  1. The over-use of antibiotics in the health service thus allowing bacteria to be resistant to MRSA.
  2. Poor hygiene standards in hospitals and other medical facilities.

If you or a loved one was affected by MRSA then it is likely that Thompsons can make a compensation claim on your behalf. Note down the circumstances, paying close attention to when, where and who told you about the MRSA and call our solicitors FREE on 0800 0891 331 and we can advise you on your first step towards receiving compensation.

You should ask yourself:

  1. Was the hospital clean and hygienic whilst you or a family member was a patient there?
  2. Were any patients isolated to prevent spread of bugs?
  3. Did the medical stuff wear gloves, aprons or other protective clothing?
  4. Were you told of any other patients with MRSA in hospital at the same time as you?
  5. Was I tested for MRSA upon entering hospital?

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