When patients seek healthcare services in a hospital or medical facility they are also putting themselves in contact with other patients also seeking healthcare services. Some medical devices such as catheters and ventilators, surgical procedures, intravenous medicines, and testing services can increase the risk of infections in patients. Infections contracted at a medical facility or while receiving medical services are known as healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs.
Some common types of HAIs include ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bloodstream infections. Surgical-site infections are also classified as HAIs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track the frequency and circumstances of HAIs. In a study that included a large sample of acute care facilities across the United States, the CDC concluded that approximately one in 25 patients had an HAI. If you were one of these patients, our healthcare associated infection lawyers can help you take legal action so you can recover the damages you’ve suffered as a result.
HAIs May Be the Result of Medical Malpractice
As with any other negative outcome of healthcare services, HAIs may be linked to medical malpractice but are not necessarily the result of malpractice. In some cases, improper sterilization procedures or practices by nursing staff or physicians can result in preventable HAIs. In other cases, the infection was beyond the control of the medical team.
The key element in determining whether an event can be classified as malpractice is the standard of care. In successful medical malpractice cases, the harmed patient must prove negligence. A healthcare facility or a member of the medical team must have acted with negligence, inattention or incompetence. It must be evident that the patient received substandard care and that a higher level of care would have been provided by another reasonable medical professional.
The patient must link the negligence to the infection. For example, if a nurse was negligent in failing to sterilize equipment but the patient did not contract an infection, then the patient does not have a valid case. There must be a link between negligence and the patient’s injuries, and your healthcare acquired infections attorneys can help you prove such a link through adequate evidence.
In addition, the plaintiff must be able to identify the damages that resulted from the medical malpractice. Damages may include additional medical bills, lost wages, and/or pain and suffering related to the infection and its effects.
Who is responsible for HAIs?
In the case of HAIs, nursing staff, physicians or laboratories all potentially could be at fault for the spread of infection. Poor sterilization practices, failure to scrub properly in prior to a surgical procedure, or improperly cleaned and sterilized equipment all can contribute to the spread of infection.
In a lawsuit, it is common for the hospital or medical facility to be named as a responsible party, although in some cases, physicians also can be liable. Make sure you discuss liability for your case in particular with healthcare associated infections lawyers who are familiar with such cases because responsibility can vary from case to case.
Talk to the Healthcare Associated Infections Lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC
If you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice in the case of an HAI contracted while receiving medical care, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Cordisco & Saile LLC can help determine the best course of action for your case and will advise you regarding your legal rights. We will help build a case against the responsible party and will manage your case from beginning to end. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation with our healthcare acquired infections attorneys.