Chicago Hospital-Acquired Infection Lawsuit
Hospital-acquired infections are common problems for patients that require hospitalization. While receiving care and treatment for their medically-diagnosed issue, they may contract an infection from the hospital and treatment setting.
Typically, nosocomial infections (infections originating in a hospital) are treated quickly and adequately. However, when they are untreated or undiagnosed, they can cause serious harm to a patient. If it occurs, medical malpractice lawsuits can be pursued.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are legal advocates for families injured through medical negligence. Call our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
What Is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?
A hospital-acquired infection, also known as a nosocomial infection, can develop when patients are treated in a hospital setting. These infections are caused by unsanitary conditions or negligent medical care in the facility where the patient is treated for an unrelated diagnosis.
When hospital infections occur, doctors and other health care professionals need to properly diagnose and treat the infection to prevent danger or severe harm to the patient. If the infection goes too long without medical intervention, it can result in sepsis, septic shock, or other life-threatening issues.
A hospital infection can lead to severe injury or even become deadly. Wrongful death and other medical malpractice claims can be filed against the responsible negligent medical professional and the medical facility.
The Responsibility of the Medical Community
Healthcare professionals must protect patients against any dangers while in their care, involving more than just medical treatment. The hospital staff adheres to strict handwashing and hygiene practices to minimize the risk of patient infections and illnesses spreading through the facility.
However, negligent healthcare facilities still exist, leading to hospital-acquired infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 31 hospital patients will develop at least one hospital-acquired infection on any given day.
Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Three main risk factors cause hospital infections to occur in a clinical setting.
Some hospital infections can be developed from factors related to the patient.Patient risk includes:
- Patient’s stay duration
- Illness or injury severity
- A compromised immune system unable to protect against infection
Patients with an extended stay in hospital settings are more prone to hospital infection while in the care of a healthcare provider.
Organizational RisksThese factors relate to the cleanliness and proper care of the treatment facility, including:
- Sterilization of medical equipment (patient beds), devices, and tools
- Adequate sanitization of facility surface
- Filtration of the water systems and HVAC system
- Sterile treatment procedures
Iatrogenic risk relates to disease caused by medical treatment or a patient examination. These factors include the treatment of hospital staff and the proper medical care and attention they provide.
Healthcare workers must practice adequate and safe hygiene when working with patients. When care providers perform procedures, such as removing catheters or drawing blood, they must adhere to safety protocols and strict guidelines.
Common Types of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Medical implants, devices, tools, and equipment can introduce bacteria into the body. Instruments like catheters or ventilators may lead to internal and skin infections.A few types of infections that frequently occur in a hospital include:
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
- Surgical site infections
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia
Doctors must act appropriately and respond rapidly when suspecting hospital-related infection.
How Doctors Should Diagnose and Manage Hospital-Acquired Infections
To protect patients from hospital-related infections, the medical staff should act responsibly and follow a strict protocol to identify the issue.
Typically, identifying problems will prevent issues related to delayed diagnosis, leading to life-threatening issues and severe injury in the patient in the days and weeks after the infection occurred.Doctors adhere to many protocols to diagnose and manage infections, such as:
- Close monitoring of the patient and their health issue
- Fluid resuscitation
- Administration of antibiotics
- Removal and replacement of medical devices
- Performance of blood cultures
- Lab testing of any medical devices
- Collection of a urine sample
Understanding Surgical Site Infections
Surgical site infections (SSIs) commonly occur at the surgical site after a procedure. The patient’s infection is typically treated quickly with one or more antibiotics through intravenous administration. There are a few common types of bacteria that cause SSIs.
Many people do not know they are carriers of this type of bacteria until it enters a surgical site. Once it enters the body, it can cause severe infections like ventilator-associated pneumonia. Once diagnosed, staph infection is treated with antibiotics.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
Staph bacteria-MRSA infections acquired in hospitals are challenging to treat. Patients that develop MRSA infections cannot be treated with methicillin or any antibiotics in the penicillin family.
Once it enters the bloodstream, it needs to be quickly treated with antibiotics to prevent the spread of hospital infection.
This bacteria is typically found in the gastrointestinal tract of a healthy person, but it can cause harm to injured patients undergoing treatments. It can enter through invasive procedures involving breathing tubes, urine catheterization, central lines, or IVs.
These severe nosocomial infections can lead to organ failure, tissue damage, or sepsis.
The Dangers of Sepsis
If hospital infections are left untreated, they can result in sepsis. Sepsis is when a hospital infection spreads through a patient’s bloodstream, causing organ issues.
A severe infection acquired in a hospital setting is a life-threatening response requiring emergency medical attention. Severe infections can lead to organ failure or even death.
- Body-wide inflammation
- Elevated heart rate
- Elevated respiratory rate
- Elevated white blood cell count
Healthcare-related infections are one of the leading causes of sepsis. Once the infection spreads throughout the body, it can cause amputation, organ failure, tissue damage, and death.
Septic shock is a severe reaction to a body-wide infection that causes dangerously low blood pressure. Once the infection spreads throughout the body, the patient will have more difficulty recovering.
According to the World Health Organization, sepsis accounts for almost 20% of global deaths. The organization also notes that health care-associated infections are among the most frequent causes of deteriorating medical conditions leading to sepsis.
When to Sue for Hospital-Acquired Infections
Hospitals must follow protocols to maintain clean and sterile surfaces and equipment. Healthcare providers may have failed to adhere to the standards and practices to keep patients safe and healthy.
Is the Hospital Liable for My Infection?
In the legal system, holding the hospital liable requires proving staff negligence. Medical malpractice lawsuits are typically based on patient medical records information.Determining liability involves specific circumstances around the infection, such as:
- Why infection occurs in a hospital setting
- Why medical professionals failed to promptly or adequately treat or monitor patients
- How or if it could have been prevented, including disinfecting surgical tools or other circumstances surrounding infection control
Once a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, an expert medical witness will help to determine the defendant’s liability for infections.Medical malpractice lawsuit related to hospital infections:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Delayed treatment
- Failure to diagnose or treat
- Failure to monitor the patient's symptoms
If medical negligence is proven, the patient can receive compensation for related medical expenses to treat the infection, medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. A medical malpractice lawyer understands the challenges of working to prove the liability of a hospital or medical professional.
Patients who suffer from hospital-acquired infections that result in life-threatening harm or damage should schedule a free consultation with a professional attorney to discuss filing a medical malpractice case.
Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney to Resolve Your Personal Injury Claim
Are you the victim of medical malpractice involving your hospital stay? If so, our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are legal advocates for injured victims harmed through another's negligence.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Our law firm accepts all medical malpractice cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures you pay nothing until we have resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.