Compensation claims for infections after operations are extremely complicated to resolve successfully. This is because post-operative infections are an accepted risk of surgery, and you will have likely acknowledged this risk when you signed the consent form prior to your procedure.
Furthermore, it is often the case that there is no explanation of why an infection develops, and therefore no evidence of medical negligence to support compensation claims for infections after operations. There are however two scenarios in which it will be possible to claim compensation for a post-operative infection.
Scenarios for Post-Operative Infection Compensation Claims
The first is when there is a failure in hygiene or infection control. This is most commonly associated with hospital infections such as MRSA, or when there has been a failure to isolate a patient with a contagious infection. Compensation claims for infections after operations can also be made if there has been a failure to sterilise medical equipment, although this is a rare occurrence.
In this scenario it is likely to be the case that other patients have developed post-operative infections to confirm a lack of hygiene or infection control, and compensation claims for infections after operations should progress smoothly with no risk of your claim for compensation being contested.
The second scenario is when there has been a failure to identify and properly manage a post-operative infection. As infections after operations are a known risk of surgery, it is imperative that medical professionals responsible for your post-operative care are alert to signs of infections and act accordingly when they develop.
In order to establish negligence to support a claim for compensation for a post-operative infection in this scenario, your solicitor would request access to your medical records and have them reviewed by an independent medical expert. If it can be proven that a post-operative infection was allowed to develop into a more serious condition due to a lack of care, you will be eligible to make compensation claims for infections after operations.
Making Compensation Claims for Infections after Operations
The process for making compensation claims for infections after operations is likely to differ slightly according to which of the above scenarios applies in your particular situation. Most commonly it will involve writing to the NHS Trust responsible for your care and sending it a “Letter of Claim” informing the Trust that you are claiming compensation for a post-operative infection.
The letter will be supported by evidence of negligence – either with regard to your post-operative environment or concerning the level of care you received while recovering from surgery. The NHS Trust will initiate an investigation into your claim and advise your solicitor within ninety days if it accepts liability for your injuries.
In the event that your claim is contested, your solicitor will discuss with you the option of issuing court proceedings. This does not necessarily mean that you will have to experience the trauma of a full hearing, as NHS trusts have a history of admitting liability at the last minute to avoid the cost of a court case they are likely to lose.
Once liability for your injuries is admitted, your solicitor will negotiate a settlement of compensation for a post-operative infection with the NHS Litigation Authority. Your settlement should include compensation for your pain and suffering and any ongoing deterioration in your quality of life, and enable to recover any expenses you have incurred or income you have lost due to your avoidable infection.
Further Information about Compensation for a Post-Operative Infection
As there are only two scenarios in which it is likely you will be able to make compensation claims for infections after operations, it is in your best interests to obtain legal advice at the first possible opportunity. With this in mind, we invite you to call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau and discuss the circumstances of your post-operative infection with a medical negligence solicitor.
Our solicitor will explain the process for establishing negligence in each of the scenarios for making compensation claims for infections after operations, and answer any legal questions you may have about claiming compensation for a post-operative infection – in complete confidentiality and with no obligation on you to take legal action for using our service.