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Compensation For C Difficile

If you or your loved one has contracted C Difficile while in hospital, there may be a case of medical negligence. In this article we explain what C Difficile is, how it can be caused by substandard medical care, and what to do if you think you could be entitled to claim compensation.

What is C Difficile?

Clostridium Difficile (often abbreviated to C Difficile or C Diff) is a type of bacteria that naturally occurs in the gut. In those who are healthy, the bacteria will live inside the body without causing any sort of disturbance.

Problems will arise, however, if the 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in the gut become imbalanced. This will usually be the result of antibiotics, something which frequently interferes with the 'good bacteria' in the intestine. This leaves the way for C Difficile bacteria to multiply. As the do so, the bacteria will release poisonous toxins, causing symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Once symptoms develop, a patient is said to be infected with C Difficile and treatment must be commenced as soon as possible. Abandoning the course of antibiotics is normally sufficient, as this will allow time for the 'good' bacteria to regrow. In more serious cases it may be necessary to administer a different type of antibiotics this will probably be a course of metronidazole or vancomycin, as the C Diff infection is resistant to most other antibiotics.

Does C Difficile amount to medical negligence?

As C Diff ordinarily occurs in those who are unwell, it is not surprising that the infection is most prevalent within hospitals. If a patient is diagnosed with C Diff the consequences can be devastating, as the bacteria have the ability to spread extremely quickly. Therefore moving patients from ward to ward and allowing a lapse in hygiene will soon result in a widespread infection. This was seen in Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2003, when 41 pensioners died from the infection.

Thus it is of the utmost importance that hospital staff do everything possible to prevent the spread of C Difficile. This should begin with excellent standards of hygiene, particularly with regards to washing hands and the sterilisation of equipment, surfaces and sanitary areas. If a patient does contract the infection, he or she should be moved into isolation to ensure the illness does not spread to other hospital patients, visitors and staff.

If these steps are taken and a patient still develops C Difficile, it cannot be said that medical negligence has occurred. Indeed, the bacteria already live within the body and so the infection cannot always be avoided. However, there are occasions in which a substandard level of medical care directly resulted in a patient suffering C Diff. This may include if medical professionals fail to:

  • Maintain a high standard of hygiene;
  • Make a prompt diagnosis of a patient with C Diff;
  • Quickly treat a patient with C Diff;
  • Move a patient with C Diff into isolation.

If you believe your or your loved one has suffered C Diff as a result of the negligent reasons listed above, you could be entitled to claim compensation. To find out more information, you must contact a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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