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Infection & Failure To Diagnose Claims

A negligent delay in diagnosis and treatment of an infection or inadequate treatment of an infection can lead to serious, life-threatening problems. Hospital acquired infections can result from poor hygiene and/or negligent treatment.


An infection may be suspected and consideration should be given to treatment with antibiotics if blood tests show an elevated white blood cell count or an increased C-reactive protein (CRP) level or a swab taken from a wound grows bacteria.

Hospital acquired infections such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.diff (Clostridium Difficile have become a real problem in our hospitals.

There are also other infections such as MSSA (Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus), Necrotising fasciitis, Norovirus and gastro-intestinal infections such as E. coli or Salmonella are not uncommon if hygiene standards are not as they should be.

Some patients can develop an infection of the blood stream known as septicaemia or 'blood poisoning'. This can be caused by surgical error, unclean equipment or failing to prescribe the right antibiotics. Sadly in some cases of infection, the consequences of these failures may be multiple organ failure and even death.

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How do I make a claim involving an infection

There is usually a three year time limit to making a claim, but these can be complex, lengthy and demanding cases. The first thing to do is to contact an expert law firm like Shoosmiths which specialises in this work.

We will need to review your medical records, take witness statements and obtain details of the hospital’s hygiene practices and procedures and whether any hygiene audits performed. We need to determine whether there was a failure to diagnose and appropriately treat the infection with the appropriate antibiotics, or whether the infection was acquired in hospital as a consequence of a failure in hygiene practices or infection control. This requires understanding of the medical issues surrounding your case as well as legal expertise. At Shoosmiths, we have proven medico-legal knowledge as well as relationships with independent medical experts who will be needed to provide an opinion on whether the care provided was to the acceptable standard and what injury was caused as a consequence of any substandard care.

How long will my claim take

It is hard to say how long a claim may take because it will depend on the complexity of the claim and whether the defendant admits liability.

We will also need to assess what treatment you might need now and in the future. We will also look to recover your financial losses, such as lost earnings if you cannot return to work, and the costs of whatever help and support you may need as a result of the negligence.

All this takes time, but this information is vital to ensure that we get the best result for you. Claims can often be settled through negotiation even if liability is denied by your opponent. We will always aim to resolve your case in your best interests as soon as possible, but our priority is your health and well-being and it will take time to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for you.

If I have a case involving a hospital acquired infection

To succeed in a claim you will need to prove on the balance of probabilities (i.e. 51% or more) that either you contracted the infection as a consequence of the hospital staff failing to follow hygiene practices and or there was a substandard failure or delay in diagnosing the infection or a failure to treat the infection with the appropriate antibiotics. We also need to prove your injury and losses have arisen directly from the substandard care.

We have considerable experience of dealing with claims for hospital acquired infections which result from staff not following hygiene procedures or not picking up on signs of infection quickly enough.

We offer everyone a free, no obligation initial consultation. Once we know a bit more about your circumstances, we can give you expert legal advice about whether you have a case for making a claim about infection and failure to diagnose.

More about infection and failure to diagnose

Diagnosing an infection at an early stage and providing the appropriate sensitive antibiotics in the correct dosage will often result in successful treatment of the infection. However, if the infection is left untreated or treated with the wrong antibiotics, even ‘minor’ infections can cause significant injury and lead to sepsis if the infection enters the blood stream. Hospital acquired infections are often avoidable if basic hygiene practices such as washing hands thoroughly and employing an adequate cleaning regime are followed.

Once diagnosed, treatment depends entirely upon the type and severity of the infection and its location.

The MRSA bacteria can be found on the skin but is unlikely to cause any injury or harm unless it enters the body through a wound or the site of an operation. Patients should be screened before undergoing any surgical or invasive procedures to ensure that they are not carrying the bacteria on their skin. If MRSA bacteria is found, topical treatments should be given to try and eradicate the bacteria and precautions taken to reduce the risk of the bacteria entering the wound and causing an infection or being passed to any other patients. Precautions should include isolating the patients and adopting strict hygiene practices. If MRSA is found in a wound then it is essential that the appropriate antibiotics are given at the correct dosage.

C.diff is a bacteria found in the gut of healthy patients, however the use of antibiotics can result in a proliferation of c-diff bacteria causing an infection. Patients with -C-diff should be treated with the appropriate antibiotics, isolated and barrier nursed to ensure that the infection is not transmitted to other patients.

If left untreated or treated with inappropriate antibiotics both MRSA and C-diff can lead to sepsis and can cause long-term harm and in some cases can even be fatal.

'Shoosmiths got me the rehab I needed and really helped with my family. They were fantastic throughout.'

Nicola Cooper, who suffered a serious brain injury after a seemingly trivial car accident.

Infection Failure to Diagnose

We have considerable experience dealing with claims for hospital acquired infections which result from staff not following hygiene procedures or not picking up on signs of infection quickly enough.

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Who we work with

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