Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find a hospital stay extended after a routine surgical procedure because of an infection. Healthcare-associated infections or hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are infections people get while receiving medical attention at a health facility, such as a hospital. HAIs are a significant cause of illness and death, resulting in devastating emotional, economic, and medical consequences.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm or if a loved one passed away due to a hospital-acquired infection, call our Maryland attorney for injury from a hospital infection. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras will evaluate your case and work diligently on your behalf. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.
Complications from Infections from Maryland Hospitals
Hospitals and other medical facilities are full of bacteria. It is not uncommon for patients to get an infection from a surgical procedure or another patient. If quickly diagnosed and treated, HAIs may not cause any significant medical complications. However, an undetected or untreated infection can result in sepsis, septic shock, or death.
Many people in hospitals already have compromised immune systems and are more susceptible to infections. Bacteria, fungus, and viruses generally cause hospital infections, spreading infection through person-to-person contact. Therefore, unwashed hands and inadequately sterilized medical instruments are responsible for the spread of many of these infections. Medication errors, such as an improper administration of antibiotics, can increase the risk of infections or increase the risk of an infection becoming resistant to antibiotics. The most common types of infections in hospitals include surgical incision infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, pneumonia, staph infections, and MRSA.
A patient will usually exhibit symptoms from hospital-acquired infections anywhere from 48 hours after admission to a medical facility to three days after discharge to a month after a surgical procedure. The exact symptoms will depend on the type of infection. Some of the most common symptoms include puss or oozing from a wound, vomiting, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.
Infections Causing Sepsis or Septic Shock at Maryland Hospitals
An undiagnosed infection can develop into sepsis. Sepsis is a severe medical complication that can develop if an infection is untreated. When sepsis, a victim’s immune system disperses chemicals that produce inflammation throughout the body instead of fighting harmful bacteria. This inflammation can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, organ failure, neurological damage, and other symptoms. If not diagnosed in time, sepsis can worsen into septic shock and become fatal.
Hospital Infections, Risk Factors, and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Maryland
Hospital-acquired infections are somewhat common, and contracting an infection does not necessarily give rise to a medical malpractice claim. There are certain inherent risks involved with any hospital stay or surgical procedure. Establishing medical malpractice requires demonstrating that there were avoidable, negligent errors. Additionally, the mistake must be a negligent deviation from the established standard of care when compared to the care other medical professionals would provide. Furthermore, the error must directly cause a severe injury and result in economic or noneconomic damages to qualify as malpractice.
Our experienced Maryland hospital infection attorneys will evaluate your injury and its potential causes to determine if you have a valid medical malpractice claim. Various factors will be considered to determine if an injury from a hospital infection was the result of medical malpractice. We will also investigate who should be held liable for any injury or harm, whether that be the doctor, the hospital, the nursing staff, or other parties.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case for Hospital-Acquired Infections in Maryland
The question of whether the infection was caused by negligence or not requires looking at the totality of the circumstances in the case. For example, the type of surgery or procedure, the length of the stay in the hospital, the strength of the patient’s immune system, and other considerations about the patient’s general health and age can increase or decrease the risk of infection. If a doctor fails to properly assess a patient’s risk and allows a high-risk patient to go untreated, that conduct may constitute medical malpractice.
Next, factors dealing with the hospital itself must be evaluated. The risk of infection can substantially increase depending on the general cleanliness of the hospital, the sanitation practices used, the sterilization of medical instruments, the quality of air and water, and the distribution of hospital beds. A hospital should have strict protocols in place to ensure that the environment is as clean and sterile as possible. If a hospital does not have such procedures in place or if the staff fails to follow these procedures, the hospital may be liable for any injuries stemming from an infection.
Finally, there must be a critical assessment of the conduct of the doctors, nurses, and other members of the hospital staff since infections can be spread through interaction with medical personnel. The risk of infection increases if hospital workers fail to properly wash their hands. Additionally, careless administration of invasive treatments, such as IVs or catheters, can lead to infections. Doctors and nurses can also make medication mistakes when prescribing or dispensing antibiotics, leaving patients unprotected from certain infection risks or allowing an antibiotic-resistant infection to grow.
It may be challenging to determine the actual cause of the infection. Our experienced Maryland malpractice attorneys will carefully examine all factors to establish liability and prove your injury was the result of hospital negligence.
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Injuries from a Hospital Infection for a Free Consultation
The medical malpractice attorneys at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras have extensive experience fighting on behalf of those injured by the negligent conduct of medical professionals. If you or a loved one suffered severe complications due to a hospital-acquired infection, or if a loved one passed away due to septic shock from an infection, contact our Maryland attorneys for injury from a hospital infection today. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.