A major concern around hospital acquired infections is that they are often resistant to antibiotics. This poses a particularly serious threat to someone in an injured or weakened state. This can develop into a life threatening problem in the case of children and the elderly. In many cases, it can be difficult to prove that an infection was the result of hospital negligence. That is why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney working on your site and performing an extensive investigation involving hired medical professionals to build a case.
How Antibiotic Resistance Occurs
Hospitalized patients are highly susceptible to infections, especially patients who suffer from weakened immune systems due to an illness or surgery. Infections that are untreated or negligently treated can be fatal. This is especially true in the case of antibiotic resistance infections.
A study conducted across 10 U.S. states and published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that 4 percent of 11,282 hospital patients surveyed had at least one health care-associated infection.
The study’s authors said their survey results indicate that, on any given day, one of every 25 patients in U.S. acute care hospitals has at least one hospital-acquired infection, or HAI. Many of those infections are antibiotic resistant infections.
How Antibiotic Resistance Spreads
Another study showed that approximately one out of twenty-five patients are infected with disease while being treated at a hospital. Additionally it is estimated that roughly 205 people die from hospital acquired infections in the US every day. These cases are complex, and often involve an extensive investigation. Our attorneys are experienced in both medical malpractice law as well as wrongful death law in the state of Missouri and can help you determine if you have a case.
Most Common Hospital Infections
Pneumonia and surgical-site infections were the most common, the NEJM study found. These types of infection were followed in frequency by:
- MRSA – Also known as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
- Gastrointestinal infection
- Chorioamnionitis infection from Birth
- Urinary tract infection
- Primary bloodstream infection
- Eye, ear, nose, throat or mouth infection
- Lower respiratory tract infection
- Skin and soft tissue infection
- Cardiovascular system infection
- Bone and joint infection
- Central nervous system infection
- Reproductive tract infection
- Systemic infection
Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Common causes of infections in hospitals or similar health care settings include the failure of medical professionals to:
- Wash their hands
- Clean and disinfect sinks and wash basins
- Void contaminated water or fluid (solutions) from equipment reservoirs
- Use double-gloving during surgery
- Promptly follow decontamination procedures after spills of blood or blood-containing body fluids
- Follow handling and disposal precautions for sharp objects such as needles and scalpels as well as blood and blood products and anatomy, pathology and laboratory waste
- Diagnose and treat infections in post-operative patients
Infections may also result from using or leaving in contaminated surgical instruments. Device-associated infections (ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary tract infection and central-catheter–associated bloodstream infection) accounted for more than 25 percent of all health care-associated infections identified in the NEJM study.
Taking Legal Action for Hospital-Acquired Infections
Failure to follow procedures established to prevent infections as well as failure to diagnose, treat or manage an infection is medical negligence. If you have been a victim of medical carelessness, and are looking for an attorney to review your case, our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers will give you a free consultation.
Individual medical care providers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, physicians, nurses and other staff – as well as the hospital itself – could be held liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of a hospital-acquired infection victim.
A medical malpractice lawsuit would have to demonstrate that the hospital and/or individual defendants provided a level of care that did not reflect the skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by other medical professionals. It would also have to show that this negligence led to the harm that the patient suffered.
Medical records connected to an infection case would likely provide evidence demonstrating the existence of the infection and the subsequent harm.
If records show a pattern of post-operative infections, the hospital’s protocols or the actions of specific medical personnel may well be questioned.
Anyone who suffers significant harm while under medical care deserves to have their case reviewed by qualified and independent legal and medical analysts.
Hospital Acquired Infection? Call Now
The medical malpractice lawyers of Sansone & Lauber bring more than our extensive medical malpractice experience to cases involving suspected hospital-acquired infections. We also provide personal, one-on-one service to our clients and make sure they are informed of their case’s progress every step of the way.
Call or contact us online today for a free consultation about your case. If we can pursue a claim on your behalf, we will not charge you a fee unless we obtain compensation for you.
Sansone & Lauber is based in St. Louis and serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Sources / More Information
- Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care-Associated Infections, New England Journal of Medicine
- Avoiding the Unnecessary Costs of Hospital-Acquired Infections, RFF Policy Commentary
- One in 25 Patients End Up with Hospital-Acquired Infections, CDC Warns Center for Disease Control
- Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 Center for Disease Control