It is estimated that between two percent and five percent of patients undergoing surgery get surgical site infections. Contracting a surgical infection after a procedure can be a severe complication that should be addressed as soon as possible.
Many cases of surgical infections have resulted from medical negligence. The failure of doctors and hospital staff members to take appropriate actions to prevent the spread of infection during and following operative procedures places lives at risk.
The personal injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have found that surgical site infections are far more commonplace than they should be due to a rise in drug-resistant bacteria strains and poor hygienic practices by surgeons and their staff.
Our legal team is dedicated to providing the best possible service and will seek compensation on your behalf. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience handling complex medical malpractice and personal injury claims.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney to review your potential Chicago surgical site infection lawsuit and protect your legal rights.
How Do Surgical Site Infections Occur?
Infections are defined as surgical site infections if they occur thirty days after surgery with no implant or within one year if there is an implant. If a cut or the wound begins to open, the area can be exposed to foreign material.
The three common types of postoperative infections include staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus, and pseudomonas.
Medical negligence of healthcare workers is one of the common causes of infection after surgery at the surgical incision site. Below are some ways a patient can contract a surgical site infection:
The Use of Contaminated Tools or Supplies During Surgical Procedures
Every object that comes in contact with a patient must be properly sterilized. Unclean surgical practices and procedures not followed in hospitals contribute to this problem.
Medical personnel must also prepare their hands and surgical attire before the procedure to avoid contaminating the patient. Drapes in the surgery rooms must also be regularly washed because they can also contain contaminants.
Improper sterilization of an operating room and poor ventilation systems can also affect a patient undergoing surgery, potentially leading to infection after surgery.
The medical team must take reasonable care and properly prepare the operating room and surgical instruments to minimize problems during the procedure that could lead to severe infection and even death.
A surgical site infection can occur if the patient is exposed to an unclean environment following a procedure and the healthcare staff does not take measures to ensure the site remains clean.
Healthcare workers must also take extra precautions when changing the wound dressing of a patient.
Rushing the Surgical Procedure or the Recovery
During an emergency procedure, a chaotic environment may lead to medical errors. If the surgical team is in a rush, they may be unaware of a surgical item falling into the patient’s body.
A retained foreign object can result in postoperative infection and other complications. Rushing a procedure can also result in the improper use of antimicrobial prophylaxis, an antibiotic used before surgery to prevent infection.
Additionally, if doctors, medical professionals, and healthcare providers do not ensure that wounds are closed up properly, they risk being infected. Hospitals may also attempt to discharge patients well before they are ready.
It is recommended that all patients remain under observation long enough to ensure they will not develop an infection after being sent home.
Risk Factors Associated with Surgical Site Infections
A doctor’s medical error during or after surgical procedures is a huge problem that leads to surgical infections. Risks associated with the surgery and the patient’s history can also increase the chances of infection.
Sometimes, a doctor and nurses can do nothing to prevent an infection, but they can do plenty to diagnose and treat one. Even if a procedure goes well and every precaution is taken to ensure that the tools and equipment are sanitized, an infection can still develop.
Some of the risk factors for surgical site infections include:
- A surgery that lasts over 2 hours
- Older age patients
- A weak immune system
- Skin disease
- Emergency surgery
- Abdominal surgery
The Signs and Symptoms of a Postoperative Infection
There are different kinds of surgical site infections ranging from mild to life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms of infection that a patient may experience are:
- Severe pain
- Warmth on the site
- Pus around the surgical site
Filing a Medical Malpractice Case: What to Do If You Have a Surgical Site Infection
Seek treatment for early detection as soon as you experience any of the symptoms listed above. If an individual receives prompt treatment, they will be able to recover and heal without any complications.
However, failing to diagnose a surgical site infection can lead to severe complications, including septic shock, organ failure, and death. If it spreads too rapidly or becomes resistant to medication, it may be necessary to remove the affected limb to save the patient’s life.
There could be additional medical bills for treatment, another surgery, and ongoing future treatment. A medical malpractice attorney can help you recover present and future medical costs, compensation for lost wages, pain, and suffering, and a decline in quality of life.
You will need to hire a medical malpractice attorney to prove negligence on the part of the doctor and prove that the medical error was the direct or proximate cause of the complication.
Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney If a Family Member Died Due to Negligence
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 75% of deaths associated with surgical infections are directly attributable to the site infection. They are the most prevalent type of infection associated with medical care.
If you have a family member that has died, you should contact a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim. A relative or personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor, hospital, and staff to recover for losses that resulted from the patient’s death.
Compensation in a wrongful death case will be determined based on the circumstances surrounding the surgical infection, the loss of financial and emotional support, and funeral expenses.
When Punitive Damages are Available
If the surgeon or hospital is found to have acted recklessly, you may also be awarded punitive damages.
You should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to prove negligence and determine your best options. Each state has different statutes of limitations and categories of damages that individuals can claim.
In Illinois, a person must file a wrongful death case within two years of the loved one’s death. You should seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney to assist with the lawsuit process and answer any of your questions.
Postoperative infection is often preventable, and punitive damages are also possible in these medical malpractice cases. A medical malpractice lawyer can investigate, prove negligence, and fight to compensate you through your legal options.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer About Filing a Chicago Surgical Site Infection Lawsuit
Seeking representation from a medical malpractice attorney can allow you to recover compensation. If you are a postoperative infection victim, you should file a medical malpractice lawsuit with the assistance of a lawyer to hold the negligent parties responsible.
Do you suspect you developed an infection because your doctor or hospital staff failed to take appropriate action during or following your surgery? Contact us toll-free at (888) 424-5757 to learn more about your rights and schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our priority is your physical and financial recovery, so we never ask for legal fees upfront to handle a medical malpractice claim.
You are also assured that if our Chicago medical malpractice law firm cannot secure damages on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.