The family of a Lincolnshire woman who died after contracting MRSA in hospital have succeeded in their claim against the hospital trust.
Mrs Staples went into the Pilgrim Hospital in Lincolnshire for a routine hip replacement in June 2002. The operation seemed to go well but a few weeks after being discharged, Mrs Staples had to be readmitted to hospital with an infection in the hip area. Over the next few months, Mrs Staples was treated in both Pilgrim and Skegness hospitals, but the infection could not be controlled. In December 2002, it was discovered that Mrs Staples had contracted MRSA in the wound.
The infection did not respond to antibiotics and Mrs Staples's condition continued to deteriorate. She had to be readmitted to hospital in April 2003 as she had become seriously unwell. By this time, the infection had entered Mrs Staples's blood and she was diagnosed with septicaemia. Sadly, her condition continued to deteriorate and Mrs Staples died on 30 April 2003.
Mrs Staples's daughter, Joanne Baumber, said "The infection had just ravaged her body, her collar bone was full of pus, her rib cage had virtually disintegrated. It was awful".
Mrs Baumber approached us to see what could be done to get justice for her mother. We obtained expert evidence from a microbiologist and from an orthopaedic consultant, both of whom were critical of the standard of treatment given to Mrs Staples. We then started court proceedings against the hospital trust. As well as pleading that the trust was negligent, we also claimed that it had breached the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. This is an argument that has not yet been tested in the courts.
The trust formally admitted that their treatment of Mrs Staples was substandard. They accepted that Mrs Staples contracted MRSA in hospital and that she would not have died, had appropriate care been given.
Shortly after these admissions were made, we were able to agree a settlement with the Defendants. A substantial sum was paid in recognition of Mrs Staples's unnecessary pain and suffering.
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