C difficile (Clostridium Difficile) is a bacterial infection that affects the digestive system. As with most infections, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected. This would include groups particularly the elderly, people in hospital already suffering from other conditions and those who require hospice care. Where C diff has been caused by medical negligence, a claim can be made for compensation. This must be within 3 years of the illness, or within 3 years of the date of death if the patient is deceased and the family wish to make a claim.
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Like cases involving MRSA, it can be very difficult to prove negligence as staff hygiene and cleanliness of the facility are not something that can easily be retrospectively examined.
If suffering from a mild case of C diff, a patient will most likely have severe diarrhea, intestinal discomfort or pain, fever, loss of appetite and nausea. In most of these cases, the patient will recover without further complication. In order to prove that there was medical negligence, the pursuer would have to show that the medical staff failed to follow the set protocols for the prevention of C diff. Where there is risk, staff should always ensure that the following has been done:
If the above steps have not been taken to ensure infection control, then the pursuer may have a case for medical negligence. C diff can become more complicated where a patient has a particularly severe case. This can result in dehydration, rapid heart rate, high white blood cell count or even kidney failure. Where a patient is already in a weakened state or just finished a course of antibiotics, this could prove life threatening. It seems to be increasingly common that patients are becoming more unwell from preventable infections than from the original illness or injury.
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Care facilities such as nursing homes or hospices can carry an increased risk of infections such as C diff. This is due to a combination of the close proximity of the patients or residents, and the already weakened state they may be in due to illness or age. There are often a number of people that have just finished a course of antibiotics, which will also increase the risk of infection. While the same infection control protocols must be observed, perhaps more vigilance is required in such institutions due to their residential nature. It could also perhaps be easier to miss C diff claims in such cases as the elderly or the terminally ill are often unable to raise claims themselves. In this situation you should contact Scot Accident Claims and we can help you make a claim.
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