Hospital Negligence Claims

C. Difficile Claims

A Clostridium difficile (commonly referred to as “C. difficile” or “C.diff”) infection is a type of bacterial infection that affects the digestive system. Many cases of C .difficile can be avoided, especially in high risk places such as hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. If medical negligence has meant that you contracted C. difficile, we could help you claim compensation.

Older people, those with underlying illnesses and individuals who are on/have recently finished taking antibiotics are particularly susceptible to the infection. Medical staff should take a number of precautions to reduce the chances of C. difficile from spreading. These include:

  • Encouraging the regular use of soap and water (alcohol hand gel isn’t effective against C. difficile)
  • Using disposable gloves and aprons when caring for C. difficile patients
  • Providing C. difficile patients with their own toilet facilities
  • Using water and bleach to clean any surfaces that have come into contact with the bacteria

Our medical negligence solicitors are here to help if these measures haven’t been followed. We could also help you make a claim if C. difficile was misdiagnosed, meaning you didn’t receive treatment for the infection at the earliest possible opportunity.

We have the largest medical negligence team in the country and have represented thousands of people in claims against the NHS and private organisations.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and how we could help. Most of our medical negligence claims are funded on a No Win No Fee basis*, meaning that there are no legal fees to pay upfront.

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C. Difficile Claims - More Information
    • Can I Make A Compensation Claim For C. Difficile?
    • If you or a loved one has been affected by C. difficile you could claim compensation from the hospital trust responsible. Becoming ill through a C. difficile infection doesn’t in itself provide grounds for a compensation claim – there has to be proof of negligence.

      However, if we can establish that the hospital failed to follow its infection control policies and that this resulted in you contracting a C. difficile infection, the hospital could be held legally responsible for the illness you suffered.

      We can help you with a C. difficile claim if there was a negligent delay in diagnosis of the infection, which resulted in you getting the necessary treatment too late. You could also make a medical negligence claim if you didn’t receive the right antibiotics or the correct treatment course.

      Fatal Claims

      We’re here to help you if you’ve lost a loved one due to medical negligence. You might be able to make a claim if negligence caused your family member to contract this illness, if their infection was misdiagnosed or if their C. difficile was treated incorrectly.

      Our experienced lawyers could help you with:

      • Recovering compensation for their pain and suffering, to account for financial losses caused by their death and to cover funeral expenses
      • Representing you at inquest
      • Getting you the answers and apology you deserve from those responsible

      Our lawyers could also help you access a statutory bereavement award, a flat rate of £12,980 which is payable when a wrongful death has occurred. This is available if you’re the spouse, civil partner or parent (if under 18) of the person who died.

      If you’d like to find out more about making a claim, please get in touch for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us today on 0800 121 6567.

    • What Will Happen When I Make A Claim?
    • After you’ve contacted us, we’ll set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case and whether you have a legal claim. We’ll discuss what funding options are available to you to pay for your claim, including No Win No Fee agreements*.

      We’ll then get in touch with those responsible for your negligent treatment at an early stage to see if they accept the blame for your illness. If they accept responsibility, we’ll try to secure interim compensation payments which can fund private medical care and ongoing expenses, before your claim fully settles. Any interim payments will be taken out of your final compensation award.

      Our experts will look into your case in detail, gathering evidence from independent medical professionals. These experts evaluate what care you should have received and can determine any future implications to your health. They’ll also advise us on the care you’ll need in the future.

      We’ll always try and negotiate claims out of court, keeping the claim process as short as we can. However, if your opponent doesn’t accept responsibility or doesn’t agree with the amount of compensation we feel you need, we’ll start court proceedings.

      Even when trial dates have been set, claims are still often settled before reaching court. If your claim does need to go to court, we’ll be there to help you every step of the way, talking you through what will happen so you feel as comfortable as possible.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • You’ll normally have three years to make a claim from the date you became aware that you had been infected with C. difficile. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

      Children Under 18

      If your child suffered because of negligence before they turned 18, you can make a claim at any time on their behalf. When your child turns 18, they’ll have to make their own claim and can do this at any point up until their 21st birthday.

      Claiming For Someone Without Mental Capacity

      When claiming on behalf of someone who doesn’t have mental capacity, the three year time limit doesn’t apply. This changes if the person who experienced negligence regains mental capacity, where they will then have three years from this date to make a claim.

      Infections Abroad

      If you contracted C. difficile while staying/visiting a hospital in another country, your claim might be subject to different time limits. Our experts can advise you on the different time limits which are in place overseas. You should contact us as soon as possible if you experienced negligent treatment abroad so you don’t miss your chance to claim.

      Fatal Claims

      If you’re claiming on behalf of a loved one who died because of a C. difficile infection, you’ll have three years from the date of the death to claim. If the cause of death wasn’t established until after a post-mortem, you’ll have three years from when you found out that medical negligence occurred.

      If you have any concerns about the time limits for claiming compensation, we’ll be able to talk through your options in a free initial consultation.

    • Can I Make A Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case we’ll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you’re best supported by a No Win No Fee agreement, we’ll explain the process clearly. This involves setting up an insurance policy that will protect you, at no cost to you. You’ll only have to pay anything when your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • Meet Our Experts
    • As the largest medical negligence team in the country, your case will be handled by a solicitor who specialises in hospital infection claims, such as C. difficile.

      We believe that rehabilitation and ongoing care is an important part of any medical negligence claim, so we have a dedicated team of client liaison managers to support your care needs. Our client liaison managers have long-standing links with local care providers, charities and support groups, and they’ll make sure you get the care you need to help you live the best quality of life possible after suffering from C. difficile.

      View our Medical Negligence team

They were always there to answer my questions and queries when I was at my most vulnerable and they persevered to obtain the best possible result."

Lisa, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is C. Difficile?

C. difficile is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that often affects people who are on/have just finished a course of antibiotics. The infection causes digestive problems and can range in severity. To find out if you have C. difficile, blood tests and colon (bowel) examinations should be conducted.

This type of infection can be highly contagious and sometimes fatal, so it’s important that symptoms are recognised as early as possible. These symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • High temperature
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Sickness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

These symptoms, especially diarrhoea, can be common side effects of taking antibiotics but the person treating you shouldn’t assume that this is the reason for your illness. You should be referred for tests to check that your symptoms aren’t more serious.

C. difficile can spread quickly because the bacteria can survive and multiply without oxygen, especially in areas such as the colon. As the bacteria spread, more resistant cells form which are harder to treat. C. difficile bacteria can be found in faeces and people can become contaminated by touching surfaces where these bacteria are present.

You could be more at risk of C. difficile if you’re:

  • On antibiotics (particularly amoxicillin and cefalexin)
  • Over 65
  • Have been in hospital/in a care facility for a long time
  • Suffering from a weakened immune system

If your symptoms weren’t recognised, or hygiene standards allowed you to become infected, we might be able to help you make a claim. To find out how we could help, contact us today on 0800 121 6567.

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How Can C. Difficile Be Prevented?

Once a person has a C. difficile infection, it can be spread to others because the bacteria leaves the body in faeces. Therefore it’s important to maintain a good standard of hygiene so people don’t pick up the condition by touching surfaces that have been contaminated. There are a number of precautions that can be followed to stop C. difficile spreading, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water frequently (not just alcohol-based sanitisers)
  • Regularly using bleach-based substances to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces
  • Washing soiled clothing with chlorine bleach as well as detergent

We can help you make a claim if lapses in hygiene standards meant that you contracted C. difficile while visiting or staying in a hospital. If you’d like to find out more about making a compensation claim, call us today on 0800 121 6567 to set up a free initial consultation.

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What Can Compensation Pay For?

You might be entitled to compensation if hygiene policies weren’t followed while you were visiting a hospital. As C. difficile can become very serious, you could be left needing treatment which your settlement can help pay for, including antibiotics…

… and faecal transplantation (transfer of a stool from a healthy donor to create a bacterial balance).

The main purpose of your compensation will be to ensure that you get the care and treatment you need to make the best recovery you can, so we’ll make sure your condition is analysed by experts who can advise us on what care you need.

Compensation can also provide funds for:

  • Your pain and suffering
  • Prescription costs
  • Expenses (such as travel to hospital appointments)
  • Loss of income

The amount of compensation you’ll receive will depend on the severity of your illness (how much pain and suffering was caused) and on your personal circumstances. We’ll always work hard to get the best outcome for you to make sure that your settlement meets your needs.

In some cases, we could help you get early compensation payments if the hospital or care facility where you contracted your illness accepts responsibility. These early payments (often known as interim payments), can help pay for ongoing care and expenses.

To find out more about making a compensation claim, contact us today on 0800 121 6567.

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