My husband always used to fancy Leslie Ash in 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.
£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.