Hospital Acquired Infection Compensation Claims

Hospital Acquired Infection Compensation Claims

There are various types of Hospital Acquired Infections that can be contracted. Infections can be acquired at a hospital or other medical facility. These infections can be caused by bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens and usually through no fault of the patient. These infections can also be referred to as ‘bugs’ or ‘germs’.    Hospital acquired infections can affect patients in any type of setting where they are receiving care and can also appear after patients have been discharged. Each year, thousands of patients around the world are affected by Hospital acquired infections. If you have contracted an infection and wish to make a hospital acquired infection compensation claim, we are here to advise and help you.     In the majority of cases we are able to help under a ‘no won, no fee’ agreement, to pursue a claim for you.

The most common types of hospital acquired infections are:

  • Pneumonia – an infection of the lungs, which causes an inflammation making it difficult to breathe;
  • urinary tract infections (catheter associated) – an infection of the bladder, kidneys or the tubes connected to them, usually caused by bacteria;
  • bloodstream infections – when a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body, enters the blood stream;
  • surgical site infections – there can incur after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place.

Common types of hospital acquired infections are those associated with chest infections, surgical wounds or the insertion of medical devices and/or equipment such as intravenous drips, urinary catheter or wound drain.

In addition to these common hospital acquired infections, there are others that also pose a risk to a patient’s health.

There are different types of hospital acquired infections such as:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Methicillin – resistant Staphlococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)

The type of patients that would be more susceptible to hospital acquired infections are:

  • Frail people
  • Elderly people
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • Sick children or premature babies
  • People with low immune system, such an people undergoing cancer treatment

These patients are vulnerable and therefore may find it harder to fight off these infections when at the hospital.

How can hospital acquired infections be spread?

These infections can be contracted whether you go into hospital via the Accident & Emergency or as an outpatient. Some patients will be susceptible to such infections and others may not. 

Infections can be spread through healthcare staff as well as things like, surgical equipment, bed linens, other equipment, and air droplets, just as coronavirus has spread throughout the world. The infections can be brought from outside into the hospital or medical facility. The infections can be spread from one patient to another. We are forever hearing about the risk of surgery and other intrusive procedures due to infections spreading and how once we compromise the protective skin barrier, we are open to contracting infections.

How can we stop hospital acquired infections from spreading?

It is essential for the healthcare staff to stop the spread of such infections. Both health professionals and patients can play their part by reducing the risk of infection. All the following actions can help to keep hospital infections at bay:

  • Washing hands rigorously for 20 seconds with soap, before eating, drinking and handling patients.
  • Identify contagions as soon as possible to eliminate the risk of further spread of the infection, such as patients with diarrhoea.
  • Creating and following an infection control policy, on how to prevent the spreading of infections when handling particular patients.
  • Using gloves and isolation appropriate personal protective equipment. This means wearing masks, face shields, changing gloves between patient handling, especially when in contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
  • Changing linens or bedsheets daily or when dirty, immediately. Using gloves when changing.
  • Using disinfectants on bed mattresses and other surfaces, keeping them clean.
  • To ensure, food and drink are stored at the correct temperature and take precaution when handling food for patients.
  • Above all, to educate healthcare staff and patients in relation to infection control. To maintain adequate training and signage around the hospital or any other medical facility. Increasing healthcare staff accountability.

Catching covid-19 in hospital

People are currently avoiding going to hospital as they are worried of catching coronavirus. Up to 1 in 5 hospital patients with covid-19 were infected in hospital, whilst already being treated for another illness. NHS England found that 10 – 20% of patients in hospital who contracted coronavirus had it whilst they were inpatients. The medical staff were passing this virus onto one patient, to another, without realising they were in fact infected themselves. 

Can I make a hospital acquired infection compensation claim?

Compensation is available if it can be shown that the infection was caused by negligence of the hospital or the hospital staff.    It is reported the medical staff may have inadvertently passed on the virus to patients because they did not have the adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and were not being tested for the virus. This became a significant problem and has led to negligence claims being made, on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

The impact of hospital acquired infections

Hospital acquired infections is a huge burden on the NHS. It happens all too frequently and has proven difficult to eradicate the spread of infections. The risks cannot be completely eradicated and some people have a higher risk of acquiring an infection than others.

Some hospital acquired infections can be treated with a course of antibiotics but others can prove to be fatal, resulting in the death of a patient.

Such infections can result in pro-longed stay in hospitals, long term health issues, long term medication, additional suffering, high costs of care and as stated, death of patients.  Different infections will have different affects upon patients.

What IBB offer

We offer a free initial consultation on starting a hospital acquired infection compensation claim. IBB claims have an experienced team who deals with such claim. In order to pursue a claim, we may be able to offer a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This would allow us to progress your claim without you having to worry about paying legal costs to start your claim.        

How we approach hospital acquired infections compensation claims

Our infections negligence solicitors collate evidence to support the claim. This will include collating medical records, witness testimony, evidence from independent medical experts and any investigation reports from the hospital.

At IBB we will fight to build a strong case against the hospital or medical facility you were treated at and will look to obtain the best possible compensation for you, so you can get on with the rest of your life. We will make this process as simple and straightforward as possible for you and will guide you throughout the hospital acquired infection compensation claims process.

As well as assisting our clients to receive the best compensation as possible, we work with the hospital to support recovery from the consequences of the hospital acquired infection. It is important to have a rehabilitation programme in place to aide recovery and this is always our priority from the outset. We commit to meeting our client’s needs by raising the issue of rehabilitation with the hospital at an early stage.

Can I claim compensation for someone who dies due to hospital acquired infection?

Yes.

We understand that claims involving death can cause a great deal of distress, particularly when the loss was avoidable. No amount of money can replace a loved one. However, we can help you to seek justice, to obtain answers, to obtain an explanation as to how your loved one came to have a hospital acquired infection.   With the passage of time there is a risk that some evidence, some documents may become lost and therefore the earlier a complaint and hospital acquired infection claim is made against the hospital, the greater the prospect of getting answers as to how the infection arose.

Where the patient recovers from the infection, they may bring a claim in their own right. Where the hospital acquired infection results in a fatality, family members may bring a claim on their behalf.

What can be claimed?

When making a hospital acquired compensation claim, there are a number of heads of claim, that may be recoverable, such as the following:

An award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, arising out of the consequences of infection which may have caused a long stay in hospital, recovery at home and an inability to engage in normal activities of daily living

Bereavement damages – where the hospital acquired infection results in the death of the patient.

Loss of earnings-serious infections may result in the patient having to take a long period of absence from work.

Travel expenses – this may include all transport to and from hospitals, GP or other such appointments or treatments attended;

Medical expense – any private medical treatment which may been required, to assist with the recovery from the infection;

Funeral expenses – in cases causing death any reasonable expenses paid to cover reasonable funeral costs.

How long does it take to claim hospital infection compensation?

This depends entirely on the circumstances, but claims can often take approximately 18 months to 2 years to settle. Factors that are likely to affect how long your claim take, can include things like, how long it takes obtaining a deceased’s medical records, whether the hospital is willing to accept responsibility or not, and building up evidence, such as obtaining expert medical reports.

Our expertise with hospital acquired infections claim

Every solicitor in our team is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Team Lawyers (APIL).

IBB is proud of its achievements and testimonials provided from their clients:

 “Very helpful from start to finish. Kept me informed on all developments. Easy to contact if I had a query. IBB Claims explained everything in easy to understand language and worked to his best ability to give me the best result”.

“I found my experience with IBB to be faultless. They kept me at ease through all stages of my case. I was informed of any developments and felt confident that all would be well. I believe in Simon Pimlott to bring my case to a satisfactory conclusion”.

“We will be forever grateful for your kind and sensitive handling of the case and I will, of course, have no hesitation in recommending you and IBB to any other unfortunate individual should we come across them”.

Legal 500 (PI) – “Simon Pimlott is a very passionate lawyer and is dedicated to his clients. He has a particular aptitude for working with challenging and vulnerable clients, especially with mental health problems. He is not afraid to take on difficult cases.”

Legal 500 (Clin Neg) - Simon Pimlott is an outstanding claimant solicitor. He is thorough, intelligent, and empathetic.

Our achievements reflect our strong expertise across all areas of personal injury law and our commitment to maintaining the highest possible standard for our clients.

Hospital acquired infection claims time limit

In most circumstances, you will have 3 years to bring a claim for hospital acquired infections, but this will depend upon the circumstances of your claim. However, it is in your interests not to delay enquiring about a hospital acquired infection compensation claim, because the passage of time may result in documents being lost and memories failing as to what events took place around the time the infection was contracted.

If a patient has died, a family member can pursue a hospital infections claim on behalf of the deceased and the time limit will run from the date of death.

There are exceptions to the standard time limit for a hospital infection claim. For children under the age of 18, you can also make a claim, with the assistance of a parent, who will deal with the claim on their behalf.

If you are claiming for someone without the mental capacity to bring a claim there is no time limit in bringing a claim.

What should I do next to make a hospital infection compensation claim?

Get in touch with our expert hospital acquired infections solicitors today. To start a claim please call us on 0333 123 9099. Alternatively, you can email us at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or please use the contact form on the right to request a call back.