MRSA superbug compensation claims

MRSA legal advice

24.02.2006

MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus often referred to simply as "staph", is a bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people. Occasionally, staph can get into the body and cause an infection. This infection can be minor (such as pimples, boils and other skin conditions) or serious (such as blood infections or pneumonia). Methicillin is an antibiotic commonly used to treat staph infections. Some staph bacteria have developed resistance to methicillin and can no longer be killed by this antibiotic. These resistant bacteria are called Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

MRSA infection usually develops in hospital patients who are elderly or very sick, or who have an open wound (such as a bedsore) or a tube (such as a urinary catheter) or a drip which allows the bacterium to enter the body. People with severely reduced resistance to infection, for instance due to HIV infection, are also vulnerable. For these groups the resulting infections can be serious - septicaemia or pneumonia for example. Healthy people rarely get MRSA.

An MRSA outbreak can occur when bacteria is transmitted to other patients, almost always by physical contact. Often this occurs when a patient or health care worker is colonised with an MRSA strain (i.e. carries the organisms harmlessly but shows no clinical signs or symptoms of infection) and, through contact with others, spreads the bacteria.

MRSA is not a new problem - the strains which can cause outbreak in hospitals first appeared in the early 1960's. MRSA may be relatively harmless in the general community, but in a hospital it is a menace. An alarming new report by a parliamentary watchdog committee states that up to 100,000 hospital patients fall victim to some form of the infection every year, and that 5,000 of them die. Treatment costs up to £1 billion from the NHS every year. In the UK there has been and continues to be a focus on prevention and control of MRSA. Hospitals usually take special steps to prevent the spread of MRSA from patient to patient. One of these steps may be to separate, or isolate, a patient with MRSA from other patients. Strict hygiene is the best defence.

Solicitors at Irwin Mitchell have successfully represented clients in MRSA claims, and will be pleased to give you free initial advice in relation to your case.

For more information call 0870 1500 100 or drop us a line.