Infections in Hospitals
In many ways, going into a hospital for surgery or other treatment is risky. And there is no graver risk than an infection that might be passing through the halls. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 722,000 people will pick up an infection in a healthcare setting, and around 75,000 people will die as a result.
Infections picked up in hospitals are called “healthcare associated infections,” or HAI, and they are particularly dangerous because many of these infections are resistant to conventional antibiotics or other treatments. These infections can make patients very sick and sometimes even cause death.
Hospitals owe their patients a duty of care, and when they fail at that duty, injured victims can often bring a claim for medical malpractice. Please contact our law firm right away to schedule a free consultation.
Why Infections Spread
Patients in a hospital are usually in a weakened state, so they are vulnerable to infections. Nevertheless, most infections should be contained. If they spread, then the following are usually culprits:
- Water supply. Germs can get into the water supply and spread that way.
- Contaminated food. If someone sick is preparing food, then their infection can pass to patients who consume foodstuffs or liquids.
- Improper sterilization of medical devices. Many devices used in surgery might not have been properly sterilized, which can spread germs.
- Iatrogenic factors. This term relates to the cleanliness of the hospital and staff when treating patients. If staff do not take care to follow proper procedures, then patients can become sick during surgery or when given an IV.
Determining if the Hospital is to Blame for an Infection
One question that arises is whether the patient had the infection when he or she was admitted to the hospital. To answer that question, doctors and lawyers must take a close look at the timeline of events. If the patient shows signs of infection after a few days in the hospital or shortly after discharge, then there is a strong likelihood that they picked up the infection while staying in the hospital.
To make a claim for compensation, an attorney can also request records from the hospital, which should keep a track of infections inside its facilities. A hospital might have been lax at isolating patients with an infection or moving those who are particularly vulnerable.
Legally, hospitals are only liable if they are in some way responsible for a patient contracting an HIA. To bolster a case, a medical malpractice attorney should identify flaws in the hospital’s response to an infection or treatment of a patient. Common errors can include failure to communicate, doctor fatigue, neglect, and sterilization errors.
Meeting with an Attorney to Review Your Claim
If you or a loved one fell sick inside the hospital, you should reach out to an attorney quickly. Florida has a 2-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. If you delay, the hospital can ask a judge to dismiss any lawsuit, and negotiating a settlement will be difficult.
At Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A., our Florida medical malpractice lawyers are proud to represent victims of medical malpractice against negligent doctors and hospitals. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.