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In the last number of years, the Irish Health Service has come under major criticism. The emergence of Hospital Acquired Infections has sent the Health sector in to a state of disarray. The most common of these infections is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) which has now become a term of everyday language. By 1960, the United Kingdom (U.K) discovered that methicillin could combat this staphylococcus (staph) aureus infections. However by 1961,the staph aureus strain had evolved and created a new resistance to methicillin which became known as MRSA.
The law of medical negligence, has devised it's own rules to assess medical difficulties. These Dunne principles do not appear however, to be capable of assessing such MRSA claims through their association of the 'general and approved practice' theories. This would lead us to ask how would the Dunne principles apply to an MRSA claim.
There are numerous proposals for making new MRSA cases. These would include Statutory breach such as Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, Occupiers Liability Act 1995, Supply of Goods and Services Act 1980. However these statutory elements do not stand alone as the issues of vicarious liability, the maxim of res ipsa loquitur and the complicated issue of causation can also be applied. Questions regarding the relaxation of the causation rules as was seen in the English mesthelioma cases must also be reviewed.
Although the issue of MRSA is an old one, the legal questions it poses are many and still need clarification by our Supreme Courts. Therefore it must be asked if the law of Tort is efficient enough to provide justice and fairness in the medical negligence claims associated with MRSA.
Kelleher, Bridget: Medical Negligence and MRSA claims. Is the Law of Tort Efficient Enough?:Masters Dissertation. Dublin, DIT, May 2009