Frequently Asked Questions About Hospital-Acquired Infection Lawsuits

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on July 12, 2017  in Medical Malpractice News. Updated on February 24, 2022

doctors putting on sterlized glovesEach day in the U.S., one in 25 hospital patients will contract an infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These infections are known as hospital-acquired infections, and they are the cause of tens of thousands of deaths every year.

The New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC have compiled these answers to the most frequently asked questions about hospital-acquired infections. If you have further questions or wish to discuss your claim with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

What Are the Different Types of Hospital-Acquired Infections?

Hospital-acquired infections develop while a patient is staying at a medical facility. They occur while a patient is receiving treatment for another disease or health condition. Hospital-acquired infections may occur at:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-term health care facilities
  • End-stage renal disease facilities
  • Surgical centers

This can include a range of infections that could be contracted in a health care environment. The most common types of hospital-acquired infections include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA)
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Central line bloodstream infections
  • Surgical site infections

What Are the Risk Factors for Contracting a Hospital-Acquired Infection?

Hospital-acquired infections can affect any patient staying at a health care facility. Certain patients are at a higher risk of developing such an infection. These patients include:

  • Those who are in critical condition or extremely ill
  • Post-operative patients
  • Catheterized patients
  • Patients on ventilators
  • Patients with hemodialysis catheters for treatment of kidney failure
  • Patients who have misused or consumed too many antibiotics

However, the primary risk factor for the spread of hospital-acquired infections is lack of cleanliness. This includes:

  • Poor indoor air quality and filtration
  • Contaminated water systems
  • Unsterile work surfaces
  • Non-sanitary medical devices
  • Higher concentrations of patients within the facility
  • Poor hygiene of staff, such as the failure to wash and sanitize hands
  • Not exercising proper care during intubation, urine catheterization or administering of intravenous drugs

What Are the Elements of Medical Malpractice That Apply in Cases of Hospital-Acquired Infections?

Health care facilities have strict protocols in place to reduce the risk of patients contracting hospital-acquired infections. Unfortunately, these protocols are not always followed; steps can be skipped or neglected, putting patients at risk.

In certain cases, the health care facility, physician or staff may be held liable for an infection acquired by a patient under their care. The following elements of medical malpractice must be established to prove their liability.

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed. A physician agreed to treat or diagnose a patient’s illness.
  • Negligent care was delivered. The medical professional providing treatment did not do so in the same manner a similarly-trained medical professional would have in a similar scenario. In medical malpractice cases involving hospital-acquired infections, it may be necessary to prove negligence such as:
    • Failure of the staff to follow hand washing protocols
    • Not following instrument sterilization protocols
    • Other actions that contributed to increased infection risks
  • Negligence was the direct cause of the infection, not another cause such as a preexisting condition or the patient’s own actions.
  • Due to the infection, the patient suffered damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Our New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys Now

Physicians and medical facilities have a duty to protect patients from harm – this includes taking precautions against hospital-acquired infections. If you contracted an infection during your stay at a medical facility, you need an experienced Hasbrouck Heights personal injury attorney, as you may be entitled to compensation.

The personal injury lawyers at Lynch Law Firm, PC will work to recover the maximized compensation you deserve. Consult with our legal team now – initial consultations are free and we do not charge for our services unless we recover a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf.

Call (800) 518-0508 today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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