Infections After Surgery: Can I Claim?

Reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, January 20, 2022

Infections after surgery can be hugely distressing. They can range in severity from an irritation to life-threatening.

The seriousness largely depends on how quickly the infection is diagnosed and treated. That makes it essential that your infection is noticed as soon as possible.

If you have been made ill after contracting an infection after surgery, First4Lawyers could help you make a claim for compensation.

Causes of surgical infections

When you have surgery, you are left with a wound. These usually heal without any problems, but there is the possibility that the wound could get infected.

This can happen when the hospital has been negligent in its hygiene standards, leading to contaminated surgical equipment or staff members.

It can also happen when you have not been tested for an infection before your operation. This means you are then operated on while you have an infection, making it more likely that it will enter your surgical wound.

Many infections, such as MRSA, don’t cause any problems if they are present on your skin. But if they enter your body through your surgical wound, you could end up very ill. That’s why it’s vital that you are tested before you undergo an operation.

Your infection could present itself in different ways. Your wound could be red, inflamed, or hot, painful or tender to the touch. You could also develop a fever, pus at the surgical site or dizziness or confusion.

Common infections after surgery

Hospitals are supposed to be clean and sterile, which should reduce the chances of contracting an infection. But this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes hospitals can become breeding grounds for bacteria and so-called ‘superbugs’. This leaves patients vulnerable.

They can be transmitted to you through a contaminated caregiver or surgical instrument or even through germs present in the air.

Some common infections after surgery include:

  • MRSA

MRSA is one of the most common surgical infections. Officially known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, it is a type of bacteria that is difficult to treat with standard antibiotics.

This kind of staph infection after surgery is generally caused by poor hygiene in the hospital or in the after care of an operation. This includes in dressings not being changed appropriately, the wound not being cleaned or even the bedding not being clean.

  • Streptococcus

A strep infection is another common type of surgical infection. It’s another bacteria that can cause mild infections, such as those affecting the throat. But it can also cause life-threatening blood or organ infections.

Most strep infections can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s important that your infection is dealt with quickly.

Sepsis after surgery

You could also end up suffering from sepsis after surgery. This is a life-threatening reaction to an infection.

Sepsis happens when your immune system reacts very strongly to an infection and then starts to damage your body’s organs and tissues. So although it is not actually an infection, it can be caused by an infection developed after an operation.

It can be difficult to diagnose sepsis as there are lots of symptoms that you could show. Some of the symptoms in adults include:

  • Appearing confused or not making sense
  • Difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing quickly
  • Pale, blue or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • Rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • Slurred speech

Sepsis must be treated urgently. If it isn’t treated early, you could end develop septic shock, which could cause your organs to fail.

Infection after surgery treatment

The treatment you need after a surgical infection will depend on the specific infection. In many cases, treatment will involve antibiotics.

With MRSA, you’ll need special antibiotics that work against the bacteria. This could be given as tablets or injections and it can last up to a few weeks.

If you’ve suffered an avoidable infection after surgery, which was caused by negligence, you could be able to make a claim. You could also be entitled to a claim if your infection was not diagnosed early enough and you were made more ill as a result.

First4Lawyers could help you through the process of claiming. Just give us a call or start your claim online to find out more about how we can help you claim the compensation you deserve.

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