The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 25 US hospital patients will develop hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals workers know that pathogens are a major threat to patient safety. For this reason, health care workers are required to follow sanitation and patient care policies that cut the number of hospital infections.
As medical malpractice attorneys, we have seen our fair share of instances where sanitation policies are ignored or patients are not given the standard of care. Hospital staff may put patients at risk of an infection by:
- Improperly cleaning equipment: Medical devices used during surgery must be sterile or they can transmit infections to patients. For example, the duodenoscope is notorious for having hard-to-reach crevices and cracks that can hide bacteria. These medical devices are also responsible for outbreaks of CRE, a deadly antibiotic-resistant superbug. Other medical devices, such as catheters, can also transmit infection.
- Poor sanitation policies: Hospitals are loaded with hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps. Staff may use both to reduce the risk of an infection. If these tools are not used, then hospital staff may transmit bacteria to patients. This is only one example. In some cases, poor sanitation practices in general can cause higher patient infection rates.
- Delay in treatment: Immobile hospital patients can develop bedsores if they are placed in one position for long periods of time. These patients may develop infections if they are not taken care of or moved.
- Failure to warn: Some patients are more prone to infections than others. These patients must be warned their infection risk so they can consent to procedures.
These are only a few possible examples of hospitals mistakes that can cause patient infections. This is not an exhaustive list.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for a Hospital Infection?
Certain criteria must be met to bring a successful medical malpractice claim against the hospital. Your attorney will need to show a breach in the duty of care occurred. In addition, the breach in care must have caused or contributed to the infection.
Hospital patients affected by medical errors and their family members may not immediately recognize medical negligence after it has occurred. If you or a loved one were harmed by a medical error, then it is important to discuss your situation with a medical malpractice attorney. The Atlantic City medical malpractice attorneys at Targan & Pender, P.C. can investigate your claim and discuss possible legal options at no cost.