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Where is compensation for other MRSA victims?

image My husband always used to fancy Leslie Ash in image Men Behaving Badly before she had her trout pout. But that was nothing compared to the suffering she endured after catching MRSA, which has left her unable to work ever again.

The £500,000 £5 million compensation awarded is a record for a superbug victim, but is too small a price for the loss of good health, independence and choice.

However, the claim means that Leslie succeeded in making the Health Service accountable, that they were to blame – if only  other victims could be equally successful.

According to Which?,  victims of MRSA are failing to win compensation because it is  hard to pin the blame on hospitals; the superbug is linked to more than 1,500 deaths a year and has left others severely ill or disabled.

Their figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that less than a third of claims are successful. Lawyers say this is because it’s hard to prove where and when an infection starts.

This seems to be a cop out to me and has resulted in scores of innocent superbug victims struggling to continue and suffering hardship too. I would like to see Leslie offer support to other victims who are struggling with claims which they are entitled to.

I’m sure Gail Gooding, who can barely walk and had to re-mortgage her home to adapt it after contracting MRSA, would agree. But because she had been treated in more than one hospital and cannot prove where she caught the superbug, she cannot sue for compensation.

Update 10.50pm: The Daily Mail obviously made a huge error in their first editions, a copy of which sits on my lap with the headline: "Leslie’s £1/2m payout over hospital bug that ruined her life", followed by the intro: "Leslie Ash has been awarded a record £500,000 in compensation….."

What a difference one little zero makes. If I was Leslie I would use some of this money to help other MRSA victims in the same boat, to set up a support group, or whatever they feel would be most beneficial for them.

This is truly a considerable sum, Leslie obviously has good lawyers. I just wish other victims whose lives have been shattered by this superbug had access to them.


12 Comments

  1. Ms Ash did not have MRSA. She had MSSA. MSSA is methicillin sensitive staph. aureus.

    “Miss Ash caught the hospital superbug MSSA, a variant of MRSA, while she was being treated for injuries sustained during an ‘energetic’ lovemaking session with her husband Lee Chapman.”

    It’s not even a superbug; it’s a common wound infection.

    So that’s £5 million which will not now be used to pay for treatment for more deserving patients.

    Check NHS Blog Doctor’s blog for details.

  2. Holly, I am really sorry to hear about this. Your boyfriend’s doctor and consultant should be answering these questions. Maybe you should also seek legal advice to safeguard his position and the financial implications. Could you tell me which hospital your boyfriend was admitted to, a little bit more about his background, the area where you live, how much you have been billed for, and I will see I can write about it for you.

  3. My boyfriend was taken to our local emergency room Nov.30th due to a ruptured aneurysm. Prior to testing for the aneurysm they did a lumbar puncture to rule out memingitis or other infection as the cause for his extreme headache and symptopms. He was found to be infection free at that time and it was not until several days after his first surgery that he showed signs of infection..fever etc. They did a second sugery to see if the bone plate they had left in was infected…it was not so they left it in. He continued to spike fever and they called in an infectious disease Dr. and began antibiotic treatments that failed one after another until they put him on Vancomycin…In his papers they list MRSA and meningitis as the reason for this treatment but never have I seen them take any precautions such as wearing masks etc nor did they have any warnings or notices on his room..or even discuss precautions with me.
    He was sent to a rehab hospital and after a week of that is at home and going to rehab as an outpatient. He is still on Vancomycin infussions at home which I administer and has a nurse come for blood draws and to advise me on his infusions….He obviously contracted these infections in the hospital and my questions would be..is there any type of compensation we can seek? ( We are being billed for these services in excess of thousands of dollars over what his insurance will cover.) And my other question is… are people who come in contact with him..myself included at risk here? Also, is this type of casual attitude typical?
    I get the feeling they really don’t know what they are treating him for and have just decided to treat him for MRSA and meningitis because they don’t know what else to do..I’m lost & confused and extremly worried here….

  4. Well this whole thing makes me very uncomfortable because why are the hospitals to blame for these occurrences? Yes it is hard to pin the blame on hospitals, because in fact are they to blame? Were they negligent? The fact is that MRSA infections are not only in the hospitals but also in the community so who will people sue then? Who is to blame then? This superbug is a fact of life now, yes it arose in the hospitals originally but I’m not sure that negligence was necessarily involved. Yes overuse of antibiotics was the cause of the resistant bacteria having mutated but overuse was done by the whole medical community plus the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry with antibiotics getting into the water system. It was certainly multifactorial abuse of antibiotics which caused these strains.
    I don’t know the facts in this case that resulted in this award but it’s not quite so simple to say that all MRSA victims all should receive compensation.

  5. When I wrote this I had no idea that the amount of compensation was £5 million because the Daily Mail story said £500,000, and so did their link which they obviously corrected. I do not know what previous compensation awards have been for other MRSA victims whose lives have also been shattered by a superdrug, and what about families whose relatives have died? Have they received compensation?

    Chris, thanks for your great insights, obviously Leslie had good lawyers.

  6. News 24 said £5M I think. I found this an astonishing amount and half a million is also an extraordinary settlement compared to what people get in other actions. One of these of course being the famous double amputee paraplegic soldier. His total package including the pension element is not that disimilar to Ms Ash’s.

    My partner is a Clinical Negligence solicitor. And so I have some awareness of how things go. The defendant – be they Trust, Hospital, Clinician – has to (a) be judged to have acted unreasonably and (b) be judged that their unreasonable decision(s) result(s) in the harm to the plaintiff. If the plaintiff has contributed a percentage may be applied.

    Many many people who are harmed in hospitals get nothing though of course whatever the causation they face the same struggles.

    This payout could well get challenged and reduced whichever figure is correct. Quite right too.

  7. I have never sought any redress for medical matters, blameworthy or otherwise. Money is not all it takes to help a disabled person adapt to their new lifestyle.

    However, I am inclined to agree with Ellee’s observation; this amount of money does carry an inherent duty to put back something into society.

  8. Give people compensation by all means, but make it fair for everyone.

    Lesley MIGHT of missed out on thousands through work. But not millions. Other people are a lot worse off than her and should be rewarded as well. This payout seems wrong to me.

    One article say 5 Million and one says 500,000.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/01/16/leslie-ash-wins-500k-compensation-89520-20287212/

  9. Leslie Ash wins record £5million – not £500,000 – payout over hospital’s MRSA blunder.
    This is not fair and will result creating problem to people who are MRSA carriers.

    MRSA is a major threat to us all; it is likely the number of people getting infection will increase rapidly. The organism is a threat to patients and the staff who treat them. So blaming doctors and penalizing them in this fashion will result in healthcare providers managing MRSA carriers in a different fashion. This will be ethically wrong but legally safe.

  10. Ellee

    The Mail article you link to says five million.

    Can you clarify?

    Or do I misunderstand “Mail-o-mathics”?

    Matt W

  11. £500,000 seems pretty good compensation to me! But I see little hope of others receiving it, sadly.

  12. The sad reality is that it’s easier for celebs to get compensation. I agree with you that Leslie should use her success to help others.

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