5 Ways In Which A Hospital May Be Held Liable For Your Infection

Posted on: 13 November 2014

In the course of a hospital stay, patients may contract a serious, or even deadly, infection. In fact, about one in 20 patients contract an infection while in the hospital, many of which are preventable. You may wonder if you can hold the hospital responsible. It's possible, but you'll need to prove that your or your loved one's infection was a result of the hospital's negligence. The following five instances help illustrate ways in which the hospital may be liable:

1. You weren't told about the risks.

The hospital should inform you of your risk of infection. It should also let you know if you are at increased risk because of factors such as age and other health conditions that may compromise your immune system. This way, you're aware of any risks before your hospital stay and can make the decision to delay or cancel the surgery or treatment.

2. Hygiene practices weren't followed.

Hospitals should have stringent procedures regarding the cleanliness of the building and its facilities. Proper hand washing procedure should be adhered to. Medical personnel should also follow established guidelines when using medical equipment such surgical instruments and tubes such as IVs and catheters.

3. Hospital staff failed to diagnose and treat your infection.

Medical staff members should be aware of any signs of infection you exhibit. They should also take action to treat your infection.

4. Staff members were negligent during surgery.

Because of the risk of infection, it's routine to give patients facing surgery antibiotics through an IV. The surgical staff should also remove all medical debris such as gauze from inside your body and properly close any surgical sites. All equipment should be properly sterilized, and the surgical staff should wear appropriate attire, including masks and gloves.

5. Another patient wasn't properly diagnosed or quarantined.

Ebola has been the news recently when a patient in a Dallas hospital was misdiagnosed and then sent home. A nurse who helped treat him was later diagnosed with Ebola. The infection can be spread if a patient with Ebola is treated in the hospital and then equipment such as a needle or syringe is reused and not thoroughly sterilized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other infections, such as tuberculosis, can be transmitted through the air. Infectious patients should be properly diagnosed and quarantined, if necessary.

If you or a loved one has an infection as a result of their hospital stay, a lawyer can help you decide if you may have a case against the hospital. Your attorney can give you advice about the merits of any legal action and help you start legal proceedings if they're warranted. Learn more by clicking here.