Question: I have recently undergone surgery, and have now developed a severe infection at the surgical site – am I able to make a claim ?

Regrettably the contraction of an infection following surgery may not necessarily be an unusual occurrence. As one doctor politely and succinctly put it: “Hospitals are full of sick people, that is where you get an infection”.

This somewhat unhelpful response does not answer the question that has been posed.

The contraction of an infection in itself does not establish any negligence on the part of the surgeon or the hospital. What needs to be proven, ultimately to the satisfaction of the court, is that the contraction of the infection arose as a result of some negligence on the part of the surgeon and/or hospital which caused or materially contributed to the contraction of the infection.

Any act or omission on the part of the surgeon and/or the hospital will be judged by reference to “peer professional opinion” for the purpose of determining whether such conduct or omission accorded with widely accepted practise. If not and it can then be established that the act or omission caused or materially contributed to the contraction of the infection then a claim will be available as against the surgeon and/or the hospital.

If a successful claim is prosecuted then compensation will be awarded by the court for non-economic loss (pain and suffering damages), any economic loss, any medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the infection together with future medical expenses, the value of any care that may be required either on a gratuitous or commercial basis (subject to limitations under the legislation), any other special heads of damage as well as an allowance for legal costs.

Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the prosecution of medical negligence claims. If you are concerned with any treatment provided or procedure undertaken then contact the experts at Brydens Lawyers today for an initial free consultation for an assessment to be made as to whether a claim may be available.