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What You Need to Know About Hospital Infections


Posted On behalf of Simien & Simien on Apr 05, 2018 in Medical Malpractice

nurse checking on patient in hospitalEvery day, approximately one in 25 patients contract one or more hospital-acquired infections, according to an estimate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These serious, sometimes life-threatening infections can be caused by the negligence of doctors or other health care providers. This is why victims should contact a Baton Rouge medical malpractice attorney to determine legal options. They may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys of Simien & Simien now for a free consultation.

What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?

A hospital-acquired infection (HAI), also called health-care-acquired infection, is an infection that develops while a person stays at a medical facility such as a hospital or rehabilitation center during treatment for a disease or other health problem. These infections also occur in long-term care facilities, dialysis centers and surgical centers.

Who Is at Risk?

While an HAI can happen to virtually anyone, certain patients are at a higher risk of contracting one compared to the general population. Some of the patient risk factors include:

  • Recent surgery
  • Use of hemodialysis catheters for kidney failure
  • Critical illness
  • Urinary catheter use
  • Use of ventilators
  • Overuse of antibiotics

Risk Factors Associated with Health Care Facilities

Lack of cleanliness is the main risk factor for patients developing HAIs. This may include:

  • Poor filtration of heating and cooling systems
  • Contaminated water systems
  • Unsanitary medical devices
  • Unsterilized work surfaces
  • High patient concentrations
  • Poor hygiene of medical staff and hospital workers, including failure to follow handwashing protocols
  • Lack of care when catheterizing, administering intravenous drugs or intubating patients

What are the Most Common Types of Hospital-Acquired Infections?

There are many types of infections a patient could acquire in a health care setting. These can have severe, life-threatening side effects, particularly when a patient is vulnerable. These infections include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Gastrointestinal illnesses
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infections of the bloodstream
  • Surgical site infections
  • Sepsis

Who is at Fault for a Hospital-Acquired Infection?

Medical facilities such as hospitals have protocols to help reduce the risk of HAIs. These include handwashing and sterilization of tools and instruments, among other measures. When health care workers are negligent and do not follow these protocols, patients may develop infections.

When an HAI is caused by negligence, the health care worker or facility can be held liable for the resulting damages. Liable parties may include:

  • Doctors or other physicians
  • Nurses
  • Medical aides
  • The facility itself

What if My Infection was Diagnosed After Leaving the Hospital?

HAIs are not always caught during a patient’s hospital stay. They may not cause symptoms until you have been discharged. If you develop one of the serious infections listed above within weeks of your hospital stay, you may have contracted it in the health care setting, whether during admission or follow-up appointments after discharge.

Your attorney can obtain your medical records to look for signs that medical standards were neglected, causing your illness. A lawyer can also check to see if delayed diagnosis or treatment qualifies as medical malpractice.

Do I Have a Hospital Infection Lawsuit?

For a medical malpractice claim to be successful, the following elements must be proven:

  • The existence of a doctor-patient relationship - This occurs when a physician agrees to diagnose or treat a patient’s illness.
  • The patient received negligent medical care - The treating medical professional did not act in the same manner a similarly-trained professional would have under similar circumstances. In cases of hospital-acquired infections, negligent care may include things like failing to follow handwashing or sterilization protocols.
  • The negligent care directly caused the patient’s infection - We need to show a direct link between negligence and contracting the infection. This often means we need to prove the infection was not the result of a pre-existing condition or actions of the patient.
  • The patient suffered damages caused by the infection - This could include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Simien & Simien Now

Simien & Simien’s Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers are committed to helping victims who have been harmed by hospital-acquired infections. We will investigate your claim and determine who is at fault so we can pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today and learn the legal options available for recovering damages related to your hospital-acquired infection. There are no upfront fees when working with our firm. We are only paid if we recover compensation in your case.

Call (800) 374-8422 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.