Post Surgery Infection Claim

My wife developed an infection after a procedure at our local hospital which kept her from working for two months. Is it possible to make a post surgery infection claim for compensation against the hospital?

Answer:

There are several conditions which have to be fulfilled before it can be confirmed that your wife is eligible to make a post surgery infection claim against the hospital – the first being that your wife actually contracted the post surgery infection due to negligence at the hospital.

You fail to mention in your question whether your wife convalesced from her procedure in the local hospital or at your home. It would be unlikely that your wife would have been discharged from hospital if the infection had already been identified; however, if the infection developed after your wife was discharged from hospital, it does not necessarily mean that the post surgery infection was contracted at home.

Furthermore, as some infections are unavoidable, it does not necessarily mean that if your wife contracted a post surgery infection that it was due to medical negligence. Only if it can be proven that unhygienic practices were being employed at the hospital which led to your wife contracting an infection will it be possible to make a post surgery compensation claim for compensation.

In order to do this, a solicitor would engage the services of a clinical expert to assess conditions in the hospital, determine whether they could have led to your wife sustaining an avoidable post surgery infection and also to investigate whether other patients who have undergone a procedure at your local hospital have also contracted infections after their treatment. If “on the balance of probabilities” it can be established that your wife contracted a post surgery infection due to medical negligence, your solicitor would then make a post surgery infection claim on your behalf.

How much compensation for a post surgery infection your wife would be entitled to receive would depend on the location and severity of the infection, how it affected her quality of life and any ongoing consequences to her health. It would also enable your wife to recover any income she lost while being unable to work and any expenses that you or she incurred in obtaining medical treatment for the infection.

If liability for your wife´s infection is admitted, it might be possible that you or she are approached directly by the hospital´s public liability insurers with an offer of compensation for a post surgery infection. These offers should be treated with caution, for although they are presented as a quick way of settling your post surgery infection claim at a time when your finances may be depleted due to your wife´s inability to work, the amount of the compensation offered may not represent a fair and adequate settlement.

If such an approached is received, it is in your best interests to inform your solicitor immediately. As an insurance company´s approach is effectively an admission of liability, your solicitor will be able to apply for interim payments of compensation for a post surgery infection until such time as your claim is resolved. Indeed, it would be advisable to speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity to assess whether your wife has a post surgery infection claim for compensation which it is worth your while to pursue.