Hospital-Acquired Infections

hospital acquired infections

A hospital can be a dangerous environment for patients whose resistance to infection is already reduced by a medical condition. If the hospital does not maintain sterile conditions, patients may acquire additional infections or illnesses while receiving treatment. These are called “hospital-acquired infections” or “healthcare-associated infections” (HAIs), and they can be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that HAIs cause or contribute to as many as 75,000 deaths each year. In addition, more than 720,000 patients acquire serious infections while in the hospital every year.

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a hospital-acquired infection, the medical negligence attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., are here to provide advice and advocacy. We have a proven record of success in obtaining compensation for victims of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide. In one case, we represented a client who developed a MRSA infection while in the hospital for surgery. After one day of trial, our medical negligence attorneys settled the case for $4 million.

What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?

Fungal and bacterial infections that develop in hospital environments are known as nosocomial infections. Transmission of these infections typically happens when hospital staff fail to practice correct hygiene. However, product defects and hospital negligence such as lack of maintenance on water and ventilation systems may also be to blame.

Examples of common hospital-acquired infections include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infection, including MRSA)
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections

Many of these conditions are treatable if detected early by healthcare workers. However, if a patient’s immune system is already weak from surgery or another illness, these infections can progress quickly. If an infection progresses too far, sepsis is a possible result. Sepsis is a body-wide response to infection that affects the entire bloodstream, and may end in deadly septic shock. Sepsis and other complications of infections are among the leading causes of injury and death after surgery. Nevertheless, most HAI cases are entirely preventable by proper hygiene and maintenance.

Who is Liable for HAIs in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Liability in cases involving hospital-acquired infections generally depends on exactly how and where you contracted the illness or disease. Those responsible for an HAI can include:

  • The hospital. Medical facilities must maintain a strict standard of cleanliness throughout the building. This includes regular cleaning and maintenance as well as upkeep of air and water purifying systems. Additionally, they must have adequate storage rooms and the correct equipment for cleaning and disposing of medical tools. In general, you can usually name the hospital in your personal injury lawsuit for an HAI.
  • Doctors and medical staff. Doctors and nurses may interact with hundreds of patients a day. In order to prevent the spread of disease and infection, these workers must take care to disinfect their tools and their person frequently. If they neglect these health standards, HAIs are a common result.
  • Medical device manufacturers. Sometimes, HAIs result from contaminated medical equipment or even product defects. An infection is possible as a result of a poorly designed medical tool or inadequate cleaning instructions. In these cases, the manufacturer of these products may be liable for your injuries.

Hospitals are busy, and an individual patient may see many doctors, nurses and other staff during a stay. As a result, it may be difficult to trace a hospital-acquired infection back to its original source. However, if you can prove that your infection began while you were receiving treatment in a hospital, you can still likely file a medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuit. A team of qualified medical negligence attorneys can investigate your case by requesting medical records and working with experts. If hospital negligence of any kind caused your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, we can get you answers and the compensation you deserve.

Call Our Medical Negligence Attorneys for a Free Consultation in Philadelphia or Nationwide

Our medical negligence attorneys thoroughly investigate hospital infection cases to determine if the hospital was lax in its health and safety procedures. We work with highly-qualified experts in hospital hygiene who help us prepare compelling cases for our clients. We will put our knowledge and experience to work for you to help you pursue full and fair compensation for the loss you have suffered.

Contact us today to speak with our knowledgeable Philadelphia and Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers representing victims of hospital-acquired infections. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay us nothing unless we get you the compensation you deserve.