Hospital Acquired Infections: Risks and Medical Malpractice

Christopher Michael Mellino

Written by

Medical Malpractice Attorney - Cleveland, OH

Posted December 23, 2012

Five percent of patients contract a hospital acquired infection(HAI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also called nosocomial infections, one percent of HAIs lead to death. If you contract an infection because of hospital or healthcare negligence, contact a malpractice law firm in Cleveland to go over your legal options.

Causes of Hospital Acquired Infections

Certain individuals may be more prone to infection, including those resulting from negligence in healthcare. Those who are very young, very old or have compromised immune systems may be at greatest risk of contracting hospital acquired infections.

Infections are caused when:

  • medical staff fails to engage in healthy hygiene practices (washing hands and sterilizing medical equipment);
  • routine surgeries;
  • open wound contamination; and
  • incorrect IV and catheter use.

If you contract an infection during your hospital stay that you believe is attributable to negligent actions of the hospital, seek legal help from a malpractice law firm in Cleveland.

Types of Hospital Acquired Infections

Among the most likely of the HAIs to contract, urinary tract infections are the most prevalent. These are commonly caused when catheters are placed inside the bladder. This is usually done after a surgery or other procedure so that the patient can empty his or her bladder. Then, medical staff can put medicine in the bladder or measure urine output.

Bacteria can be introduced into the bladder when an unsterile catheter is placed into a patient. These bacteria can cause a urinary tract infection. Patients who are taking antibiotics or who have weak immune systems may be prone to urinary tract infections.

Pneumonia is another possible infection caused by healthcare professionals. This may be caused by instruments used during procedures involving the respiratory system introduce bacteria.

Negligence in healthcare can also lead to surgical infections. When unsterile equipment is used to perform surgery on a patient, bacteria can grow inside the patient or on a wound and cause an infection. Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is another type of infection that may be spread in hospitals, especially if individuals who have the bacteria fail to wash their hands.

Filing a Claim if Negligence Causes an HAI

Of course, not all cases of HAI are the result of negligence. In order to file a claim for malpractice, the healthcare professional or hospital must have acted in a manner that strays from the expected standard of care.

This might include failing to sterilize equipment, not washing one's hands, or other careless acts that may lead to infection. If you contracted an infection despite the hospital and its staff taking all necessary precautions, then you may not be able to file a claim to recover damages.

If you have contracted an infection while a patient at a hospital, an attorney can review the circumstances and help determine if negligence may have been the cause. Mellino Robenalt LLC is a malpractice law firm in Cleveland that can review your case and discuss your legal options following a hospital-acquired infection resulting from negligence in healthcare. Call (440) 333-3800 or read a free eBook on medical malpractice.


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