When a healthcare provider’s negligence results in injury or harm to yourself, you and a Lakeland medical malpractice attorney can file a lawsuit against it. Medical malpractice takes different forms. One of these is hospital-acquired infections, also known as HAIs. Most infections are usually benign and will not cause any serious health hazards when treated quickly. However, infections that are not immediately diagnosed and treated can worsen quickly and lead to very serious consequences.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 1.7 million patients suffer from HAIs every year. A huge number of these infections turn out to be serious, with CDC estimating 99,000 associated deaths on average every year.
What Is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?
HAIs are defined as such infections that a patient acquires at a hospital and which are not directly associated with the patient’s illness. The timing of the onset of an infection is often a giveaway as to whether or not it is HAI. If a patient acquires an infection within 2 days of being admitted to a hospital, it is very likely an HAI. Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish an HAI given the pre-existing medical condition of a patient.
How Do Hospital-Acquired Infections Take Place?
When you are admitted at a hospital for treatment, your immune system is not functioning at its best. This is because it is already fighting the disease or illness you have and is likely exhausted. At the same time, a wide range of bacteria are found in a hospital setting as it is a place for treating illnesses. These two factors can cause you to acquire an infection once you are admitted at the hospital.
Factors Causing Hospital-Acquired Infections
Hospital infections can be caused by a number of factors. These include:
- Medical Devices: A wide range of medical devices are used to treat patients at a hospital. Hospitals are required to follow stringent practices to make sure these devices are sterile and clean. If they fail in doing so, they can be held liable. A device that is not sterile can quickly cause an infection.
- Water Supply: Any problems with the cleanliness of the water system and supply at the hospital can lead to infections. In such a case, the hospital can be directly held liable for malpractice.
- Building Surfaces: Walls, floors, doors and other surfaces at a hospital can become home to various bacteria if not routinely cleaned and sterilized. Exposure to unclean surfaces can significantly increase the risk of infection in a patient.
- Iatrogenic Factors: Iatrogenic factors concern the cleanliness and care of the hospital staff when interacting with the patient. The risk of infection is especially high is proper care is not taken when performing intravenous procedures.
- Patient Health: The severity and nature of a patient’s illness determine the strength of the immunity system. This is also a contributing factor towards the likeliness of acquiring an HIA.
Who Is Liable for an HAI?
A hospital-acquired infection may take place any time during a patient’s stay at the hospital. For this reason, it is extremely difficult to determine exactly when the infection took place or what the cause was. What can be determined is that the infection happened after the patient was admitted. For this reason, it is often the hospital or the healthcare facility that is liable for the infection.
However, the circumstances of a patient’s treatment vary from case to case. It is only by looking at the exact circumstances of a patient’s treatment that the liability can be definitely determined. If you suspect that you or a loved suffered an HIA, it is best to hire the services of a Lakeland, FL medical malpractice lawyer. The lawyer will help you determine the liability and then file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Hiring a Qualified Medical Malpractice Attorney in Lakeland
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit related to a hospital-acquired infection, it is important to get legal help. A qualified personal injury lawyer in Lakeland will help you prepare your case and then file for a suitable amount of damages against the at-fault party. Whether this party is the hospital, a staff member or a doctor, it is important to present a well-prepared case. In many cases, you will need the help of a medical expert to corroborate your version of events.
Here at Burnetti P.A., we can help you prepare your case, gather evidence, find medical experts and file the lawsuit in the briefest time possible. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.