To cater to patients seeking medical attention, it’s up to healthcare providers to adhere to the proper procedures in order to prevent infection. When a patient’s condition is exacerbated due to infections contracted within a hospital, it isn’t always due to medical malpractice, and victims are often left without legal recourse. However, hospitals can be held liable for preventable infections that cover the following.
Surgical Site Infections
Known commonly as an SSI, these infections occur after a surgical procedure has taken place and involve the presence of bacteria near or around the area the surgery transpired. These infections can either indicate unsanitary conditions within the operating area or improper procedures during wound care.
More common than most people think, device-related infections occur when patients have a device such as an IV, catheter, respirator, or ventilator inserted into their body. When not kept sanitary, these devices can pose a serious health risk that can sometimes prove fatal.
Because hospitals care primarily for patients who are already ill, simply coming in for a routine check-up can expose you to potential airborne illnesses and infections. Though simply breathing in can sometimes put visitors at risk of inhaling a virus, it’s important to note that the dangers of doing so apply mostly to admitted patients.
When Should You Sue for a Hospital Infection?
Often tricky to prove, knowing how and when a patient may have contracted an infection inside a hospital is key to building your case. In most cases, infections occur during or after surgery. In an individual who has already been released from the hospital, it may be even more difficult to pinpoint whether an infection occurred during the admission period or after they returned home.
Depending on the circumstances during which the infection occurred, some cases can be raised as a medical malpractice concern. Keep in mind that medical malpractices are difficult to pursue as they require strict deadlines and are legally complex. If hospital staff were responsible for maintaining and cleaning a wound or in charge of handling medical devices in relation to the patient and you can confidently pinpoint where an infection may have occurred, discuss this with a medical malpractice attorney in order to determine whether or not you may have a case.
If an infection doesn’t occur until after the patient has been discharged or a family member was in charge of wound aftercare, your medical malpractice attorney can help determine whether an infection was still caused by malpractice or hospital negligence.
In every case, whether catering to visiting or admitted patients, it’s the responsibility of treatment centers as a whole to provide clean and infection-free environments. As such, no patient expects to leave a hospital with more problems than they did coming in. If hospital infections lead to long-term health consequences, with staff failing to implement customary standards, you may be able to sue for hospital negligence.
If you’re looking to pursue a medical malpractice case, you can contact The Fernandez Firm in Boston, MA for a free evaluation. We work to protect our clients with 24/7 attorneys who are equally as dedicated as they are passionate.