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LESLIE'S MRSA pounds 5M; Campaigners' outrage at record payout over her 'ruined career'.

Byline: By EMILY COOK, MARK JEFFERIES and GRAHAM BROUGH

MEN Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash has won an incredible pounds 5million payout for catching a superbug while in hospital.

Leslie, 47, had been expected to pick up around pounds 500,000 after contracting MSSA - a variant of MRSA.

But the NHS compensation body yesterday announced it was forking out 10 times that amount - and setting a new record for superbug awards - because of Leslie's potential loss of earnings. Leslie yesterday said she was "delighted" - but the huge payout was blasted last night by campaigners.

Neil Manser, of National Concern for Healthcare Infections, whose father died from MRSA, said: "I am totally shocked. This money will be coming out of the NHS where it is desperately needed to pay for things such as the prevention and treatment of superbugs like MRSA."

And Derek Butler, of MRSA Action UK, said: "There's an awful lot of people who have lost family to MRSA or have suffered themselves who have received far less than that - or nothing at all."

But Leslie's lawyer Janice Gardner said the actress's career had been wrecked by the bug. She added: "This is a significant settlement which recognises that Leslie has been seriously injured."

Leslie almost died after catching MSSA while being treated for a punctured lung and two broken ribs at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

She was briefly paralysed from the chest down and still walks with a stick.

Voice of the Mirror: Page 8

emily.cook@mirror.co.uk

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2008
Words:257
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