An upsurge in MRSA cases against hospitals is expected as health and safety legislation is being used by lawyers as a basis for compensation claims. In the past, it has been difficult to prove cause and effect in MRSA cases. This is because patients bringing clinical negligence claims after contracting the disease cannot establish exactly when, how and where the infection occurred.
More recent cases have relied on workplace health and safety law, under which employers are required to carry out an assessment of the risks from hazardous substances to which people might be exposed. The advantage of using this legislation is that it places the burden on employers to prove that they were following correct procedures.
The NHS Litigation Authority recently admitted that there have been 68 cases involving MRSA infections in the last four years. In that time they have paid more than £5 million in damages to MRSA victims.
Hospitals are required to carry out certain procedures to limit the spread of MRSA. These include hand-washing, the use of disposable gloves and gowns and the isolation of patients with MRSA. It is when these procedures are not followed that infection is most likely to spread. Failing to follow the correct procedures for controlling the spread of the infection could result in hospitals being liable under health and safety law.
If you become ill as a result of exposure to an infectious organism during a hospital stay or visit, you may be entitled to compensation.