Healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) are so common that in 2013, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services made reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections a major goal. These infections have been estimated to be responsible for patients staying an average of 17.6 days more than they ought to, costing patients an extra $1,100 on average in medical costs.
But unfortunately, it doesn’t just stop there. A 2007 National Institute of Health report estimates that there were 1.7 million healthcare-acquired infections in 2002 which were linked to nearly 99,000 deaths in that year. Data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that about 722,000 people were infected in acute care hospitals in 2011, contributing to about 75,000 deaths in the same year.
The good news, however, is that in recent years, the efforts of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC have seen a considerable decrease in the number of HAI’s.
There are four major categories of healthcare acquired infections:
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI)
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)
- Surgical Site Infections (SSI)
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
There are many microorganisms responsible for these infections. But the most lethal of them are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C.difficile). These two are largely responsible for many of the deaths associated with hospital-acquired infections.
Who Should Be Held Liable?
If you suspect that you or a loved one are a victim of a hospital-acquired infection, you may have a case if it can be proven that the hospital or its healthcare professionals were negligent in carrying out their duties. The following situations are grounds for holding the hospital liable:
Lack of Best Practice Infection Control Measures
The hospital is considered at fault if patients contract these infections due to lack of care, poor sanitary conditions, use of infected tools, allowing unqualified/inexperienced healthcare professionals to carry out surgical procedures, and the absence of appropriate safeguards.
This is important because hospitals aren’t meant to worsen your health condition. There’s no doubt that they are potential breeding grounds for germs which can be dangerous, particularly when a patient’s immune system is weak and their body is exposed to additional vectors of infection.
The proper standard of care should minimize the populations of these bacteria where they cannot be entirely eliminated, and lower the risk of exposure to patients and hospital staff.
Poor Implementation of Infection Control Measures by Hospital Staff
Hospitals are meant to help you get better. If a patient gets sicker because someone, somewhere didn’t do their jobs properly, use properly sterilized equipment, or execute the proper infection control procedures, the hospital can be held liable, regardless of whether or not this negligence or error was intentional, if one or more of the following conditions is met:
- Upon admission, you were tested for MRSA and C.Difficile and cleared as being without those infections.
- Upon contracting the infection, the hospital did not promptly diagnose and treat the infections properly.
- The hospital was unable to effectively treat the infection after its diagnosis.
- There was, during your treatment, a blatant lack of care by the hospital professionals.
If this describes your situation or that of a loved one, and you are unsure if you have a claim or don’t know where to go for help recovering your damages or covering the additional costs of a healthcare-acquired infection, contact my office at 800.952.1662 today to discuss your rights.bed bug attorney