The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are responsible for 99,000 deaths in the US each year. Some of these cases involve “superbugs.” Superbugs may refer to strains of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. As more antibiotics are used commercially and in healthcare settings, these strains of bacteria have adapted by developing a resistance. Strains that include MRSA, CRE and VRE can be found on hospital surfaces or commonly used medical devices. Infections can also spread between patients.
Patients who develop superbug infections are more likely to die or suffer permanent complications. Medical professionals have a more difficult time treating these patients. Commonly used antibiotics may not work. For this reason, there are federal and institutional regulations that are designed to decrease instances of superbug infections.
Can I Sue for a Healthcare-Acquired Infection?
Healthcare-acquired infections, including those caused by superbugs, may be caused by institutional or professional negligence. Examples of negligence may include but are not limited to:
- Poor sanitation practices: Patients are more likely to develop infections when hospitals or healthcare centers have poor sanitation. Patients can develop infections when equipment is not properly sterilized. Infections can also spread by neglecting handwashing and sanitation procedures. These are only two of many possible examples of what could constitute poor sanitation.
- Failure to treat an infection: Patients with infections can be harmed if they do not receive prompt treatment. In other cases, patients can suffer harm if they are misdiagnosed or receive delayed treatment for an infection.
- Causing an infection: Some patients may have wounds that require around-the-clock care. They could develop infections if they do not receive adequate care. Health care providers may be negligent if they knew a patient had a higher risk of an infection, but failed to take precautionary measures to prevent an infection.
If you or a loved one were harmed while receiving care at a hospital or medical center, then we encourage you to speak with one of our attorneys. The Atlantic City medical malpractice lawyers at Donald G. Targan & Associates could help you determine whether an infection was caused by hospital negligence.