Does Medical Malpractice Apply if Someone Develops an Infection During a Hospital Stay?
Does Medical Malpractice Apply if Someone Develops an Infection During a Hospital Stay?

People say that becoming ill or getting an infection is often associated with a hospital stay. While that might sound far-fetched, the reality is they are correct. While most hospitals take the appropriate steps to maintain a clean and sterile environment and medical professionals do all of the right things, people still acquire infections from a hospital stay. For anyone in this situation with excessive medical bills and prolonged healing, it is important to hire a medical malpractice attorney.

Looking at the current statistics is alarming. Not only do many people acquire infections during hospital stays, but those infections are also among the leading causes of patient deaths in the US. Every year, roughly 1.7 million patients get infections while staying in the hospital. Sadly, about 99,000 of those patients die.

Although there are different types of infections, the one most often seen is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA (mur-sa). As a staph infection, it is highly resistant to most antibiotics used for treatment. Unfortunately, even when a patient gets treated for staph using the appropriate antibiotics, if the doctor sees no improvement, it is often determined that the patient did not have this type of infection. Only after realizing the error is something done, but at that point, the infection may be too far advanced.

There is yet another issue with MRSA. Symptoms are often minor. Only after a person becomes seriously ill is the infection diagnosed. If not properly treated and quickly, MRSA can cause major problems with the lungs and lead to other complications.

From a legal standpoint, considering the fact that MRSA is so common, doctors should provide patients with information about the risks, especially surgical implant patients, as they are at the greatest risk for acquiring this type of infection. It is important to note that if someone acquired MRSA, both the hospital and the attending doctor can be held legally liable, even if the infection was deemed preventable.

While the hospital or doctor may not be liable just because a patient acquired a staph infection, they would still be responsible if they failed to diagnose or treat it within a reasonable amount of time. Surgical neglect is another basis for filing a lawsuit against a hospital or doctor. For this, the hospital or treating doctor would have had to make specific mistakes during a surgical procedure.

  • Performing surgery on a hemoglobin that dripped blood into the wound
  • Providing inadequate blood supply or improper manipulation of tissue
  • Leaving a void or dead space where bacteria collects
  • Allowing any debris to make contact with the wound
  • Failing to follow proper protocol for disinfection and sterilization

Of course, there are times when a person develops an infection under standard hospital care that is not the fault of the hospital or doctor. In those instances, no one did anything wrong. A reputable medical malpractice attorney will help determine if the hospital or doctor was negligent, leading the patient to acquire a MRSA infection. Typically, these cases are tricky and often hard to win. For that reason, it is essential to hire the right attorney.

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