Increased Hospital Infections and Medical Malpractice
Hospital patients often suffer from illnesses or injuries that make them vulnerable to infections, which is why it is essential that hospitals maintain a sterile environment. Unfortunately, data shows that hospital-acquired infections remain a risk for patients. Without prompt treatment, hospital-acquired infections can result in complications such as sepsis, organ failure, or death.
Individuals in Lakeland, FL, Winter Haven, FL, and surrounding areas who have suffered losses from a hospital-acquired infection related to medical malpractice can work with medical malpractice lawyer Daniel D. Moody to hold liable parties accountable for their losses.
Increasing Hospital Infections
The hospital environment should be clean, which means that tools and equipment should be sterilized, bed linens should be washed, and healthcare providers should practice thorough handwashing and follow other safety protocols. Despite these expectations, many patients suffer from hospital-acquired infections, which are defined as infections that are not associated with a patient’s diagnosis or health issues.
A 2017 hospital study reported by the Leapfrog Group found that many hospitals are actually experiencing an increase in hospital-acquired infections. The study reported on five infection measures: central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, inpatient hospital-onset MRSA infections, inpatient hospital-onset c.diff infections, and surgical site infections following major colon surgery.
The Leapfrog study found that, each day, around one in 25 patients in U.S. hospitals contract a hospital-acquired infection. And many hospitals have seen a rise in all five types of reported infections since the previous study. Perhaps even more alarming, the rate of hospitals achieving zero infections has declined dramatically since 2015. In regards to particular infections, the percentage of hospitals reporting zero central line-associated bloodstream infections dropped from 25 to 12.7, and the percentage of hospitals reporting zero MRSA infections dropped from 30.6 to 14.6.
Common Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections
When a patient suffers from a hospital-acquired infection, medical negligence is often to blame. Common causes of these types of infections include:
- Use of contaminated instruments
- Reuse of syringes
- Improper cleaning/sterilization practices
- Poor maintenance and/or use of ventilators and catheters
- Insufficient hygiene habits in treating medical staff
- Contaminated air, heating, or water systems
- Overcrowding at the hospital
Proving Medical Malpractice
Proving medical malpractice related to hospital-acquired infections can be complicated. The treating hospital is likely to argue that there is nothing that could have been done to prevent the infection, nor did any wrongdoing contribute to the infection. Hospitals often have extensive legal teams on their side, so it is important for patients to seek their own legal counsel.
Medical malpractice lawyer Daniel D. Moody gathers evidence on behalf of our clients to prove the three primary aspects of a medical malpractice case:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed
- The doctor failed to meet the accepted standard of care
- Failure to provide the accepted standard of care resulted in illness/injuries and damages for the patient
To demonstrate liability in medical malpractice cases, we rely largely on medical records and expert testimony. Expert medical witnesses can testify to whether or not appropriate medical standards of care were met, and whether the accepted standard of care could have prevented the hospital-acquired infection, as well as related damages.
Patients who have developed an infection while under the care of hospital staff may be due compensation for infection damages. To find out if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim, schedule a consultation with Daniel D. Moody in Lakeland or Winter Haven. To get started, send us a message online, or call (863) 284-9090 at your earliest convenience.