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Is the loss of a leg due to infection caught in the hospital any reason to try and sue for some kind of settlement

Oneonta, AL |
Attorney answers 8


Infection cases are generally very hard to prove. That said, the extent of your injuries makes your case a candidate to be reviewed by a medical malpractice lawyer.

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Contracting an infection is generally not an indication of substandard care. However, the delay in treating one can be, but I agree that they are notoriously difficult cases. IF your infection was diagnosed within a reasonable time it is unlikely that there is a viable claim, but you should check with a local attorney to be sure.


Hospital-acquired ("nosocomial") infections are a hazard of the hospitalization of very sick people whose immune systems may be compromised. Such infections can occur without anyone's negligence; if hospitals were strictly liable for damages caused by nosocomial infections, no one would operate hospitals.

Every malpractice plaintiff must, as a general principle of law, prove a breach of the applicable standard of care proximately caused the damages. Hard to imagine how to do this in a nosocomial infection case. I suppose the hospital's sanitary procedures may be called into question, but the real difficulty is showing that but for something the hospital did or failed to do, the infection would not have been acquired. It's a mighty tall order to show such a state of affairs. In certain circumstances it might be possible, but it would require considerable factual development before a lawyer could confidently state that sufficient evidence existed on each element of the case that the case could go forward. And expert physician testimony is almost always necessary in medical malpractice cases to prove what the standard of care is, what the breach was, and the damages that it caused and that would not have been caused if there were no breach.

Not legal advice as I don't practice law in Alabama or hold Alabama licensure. It's just my two cents on the facts you describe in light of general principles of law. Consult Alabama counsel to obtain legal advice tailored to your specific circumstance. I practice in Vermont ONLY.


A lot more facts are needed. You need to immediately consult with an experienced local medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate and advise you.


Having practiced law in Alabama for more than 20 years, and having handled numerous malpractice cases here, I can tell you with some confidence that if your case is premised on the fact that you acquired an infection as a result of being in the hospital, you would not have a viable case against your medical providers or the hospital in Alabama. The law in Alabama is strongly weighted in favor of the medical providers in civil cases, and to my knowledge, no plaintiff has successfully prosecuted a malpractice claim relating to hospital acquired infections in Alabama since the Legislature here passed the "Alabama Medical Liability Act" in 1987. Further, the other comments in response to your question accurately point out that that the acquisition of a hospital born infection is not necessarily a result of anyone's negligence. I am truly sorry for your injuries, but a lawsuit is not likely a realistic option in this matter.


No that is not a reason to bring a law suit but it surely needs to be investigated. Infections occur and are not necessarily caused by Malpractice. However infections can be caused by a failure to diagnose in time to provide appropriate antibiotics or the failure to provide proper lab tests. In short call a Lawyer that is experienced with medical issues as this case warrants an investigation. This is a very bad outcome and it is possible that the infection was not properly controlled or diagnosed . You need to obtain your medical records and have them reviewed.

I am not providing legal advice so do not in anyway rely on this answer


You should certainly have a local malpractice lawyer order your medical records to investigate. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find a top-rated Avvo attorney with a low contingency fee.


What a terrible situation. I am sorry this happened. As my colleagues have stated, infection cases are difficult. But it is certainly worth a call to a lawyer in the jurisdiction of the hospital to find out. You should be able to get a free consultation.

I am a medical malpractice, catastrophic accident and wrongful death attorney based in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. For a free consultation call 800-876-5299 or contact me through Avvo. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and West Virginia. Anything posted on Avvo is educational in nature and is not meant to serve as legal advice. Viewing my posts on Avvo does not form an attorney/client relationship.

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