A harrowing TV storyline and disturbing comments made this week by a doctor will re-ignite fears over catching MRSA superbugs in local hospitals, warns a leading North East legal expert which ma lead to MRSA claims.
This week-end's episode of 'Casualty' sees leading character Dr Selena Manning desperately fighting for her life as she battles to overcome a superbug infection caught while recovering in hospital from a near fatal stabbing.
The 'Casualty' plot line follows the alarming actions of chest consultant Professor Sherwood Burge.
He sent a dying woman home from a Birmingham hospital because he feared there was "an increased risk" of her catching the killer superbug if she stayed.
He felt that there was a substantial risk of MRSA infection at the hospital and was quoted as saying "It's not a terribly safe place to be. It's usually safer at home".
Earlier this year delegates at Britain's first Clean Hospitals summit heard medical experts warn that the superbug problem has the potential for getting dangerously out of control.
The latest Department of Health and the Health Protection Agency figures show that reports of MRSA have increased by 3.6% in England over the last year.
Research by health experts at the University of Bath research estimates that MRSA kills at least 5,000 people a year.
Angela Curran MRSA solicitor is a partner at Newcastle personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell (IM) and an expert on clinical negligence issues.
She believes the situation is very disturbing and dramatic TV plots and comments like Prof Burge's do nothing to reassure an already worried public.
"In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of hospital super-bug cases and the trend appears to be continuing upwards" she said.
"People going into hospital ill when their immune systems are down are not able to fight these bugs.
"MRSA is undoubtedly a very nasty, life threatening bug and can lead to costly long-term medical treatment and absenteeism from work, with associated loss of earnings.
"Clearly, those who are infected deserve the right for some form of redress and compensation in these cases and they should contact a specialist personal injury lawyer for expert advice."
Some practical advice for patients and visitors to help minimise the risk of catching MRSA in hospital includes:
- If there is dust or dirt around or under your bed, ask for the area to be cleaned;
- Always wash with bactericidal before visiting, or admission to, hospital;
- Always wear shoes or slippers;
- Ensure that the staff manage you with care and consideration;
- Do ensure that the toilets are clean before using them;
- Don't get too close to other patients;
- Don't 'put-up' with soreness or discomfort;
- Don't put bare feet on the floor;
- Never use tissues more than once.
Have you got an MRSA claim? If we can help you or someone you know with a similar superbug claim, please visit our Medical law and patients rights pages.
Alternatively, if your claim affects a number of people, please visit our group action section to see how we could help you.