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Hospital Acquired Infections

Clostridium Difficile Diarrhoea

George was admitted to hospital suspected of having shingles, and was soon discharged. Two days later, however, he began to suffer from severe diahorrea. Tests were carried out, the results of which showed he had Clostridium Difficile – a hospital acquired infection.

On 4 September 2008, when he was 73 years old, George was taken to A&E with a relapse of shingles. He was admitted and placed in isolation, as it was thought he could be infectious.

When his condition was under control, he was transferred to a general ward, taking the bed space of a patient who in turn needed George’s isolation room. This swap was necessary because the patient had Clostridium Difficile (C Diff), a highly contagious disease that spreads very quickly. Although George and the other inpatient retained their beds respectively, the curtain, chair and locker surrounding the bed space remained as they were.

On 22 September, George was discharged from hospital. However, two days later he started to experience severe diahorrea. His GP ordered stool samples to be sent to a laboratory for testing, the results of which showed George had contracted Clostridium Difficile.

He was subsequently readmitted to hospital and treated for C Diff by means of oral antibiotics. Six days later medical staff deemed this treatment to be complete, even though at the time hospital guidelines stated a patient with C Diff should be administered medication for 10-14 days. Nevertheless, George was thought to be clear of infection and was discharged.

Unfortunately, however, by 5 November George had suffered a relapse. He was opening his bowels 12 times a day, has lost a significant amount of weight and had lost his appetite. He returned to hospital for a third time, where he was once again treated with antibiotics, this time for a further five days.

When he felt better, George contacted Glynns to discuss the possibility of making a medical negligence claim. We instructed a medical expert to prepare a report, which found George contracted C Diff due to unhygienic procedures in the ward. As a result of this negligence, George remains in danger of suffering from the infection again and of developing colitis – particularly if he is given antibiotics, admitted to hospital or undergoes surgery.

We helped George make a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust whose failure to maintain standards of hygiene in the general ward caused George to contract Clostridium Difficile. His claim was settled for £6,000.

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