We visit hospitals in hopes of recovering – not getting sicker. Unfortunately, that is the outcome for numerous patients who develop serious or deadly hospital infections each year. In many cases, these infections and their complications are preventable, and result directly from hospital negligence or medical malpractice. In such cases, victims may be entitled to financial compensation, including compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, and other losses.
If you or one of your family members suffered an infection after undergoing surgery, receiving medical implants, or being hospitalized for other reasons, you may have an injury claim. The Baltimore malpractice lawyers of Bennett & Heyman, P.A. are here to help. Drawing on more than 70 years of combined legal experience, we dedicate ourselves to making the voices of medical malpractice victims heard. Our hospital infection attorneys are aggressive, proactive, and ready to offer support. Contact us online for a free consultation, or call Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856 today.
What Are Some Common Causes and Examples of Hospital Infections?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection” (HAI). According to the federal government’s official health website, health.gov, the rate of infection is even higher: “At any given time,” the website states, “about one in 25 inpatients have an infection related to hospital care.” In 2014, Becker’s Hospital Review described hospitals as “great breeding ground[s] for infections,” pointing out two critical facts: patients have compromised immune systems and are confined “in close quarters,” heightening the risk of infection. When hospitals fail to establish and follow protocols to reduce these risks, patients can be seriously hurt or even killed.
The question is, what is causing all these infections? While there are many different types of HAIs, with a few examples described below, there are only four types of causes:
- Bacteria (bacterial infections), such as Clostridium difficile ( difficile), which causes inflammation of the colon, a condition known as colitis
- Fungi (fungal infections), such as Candida albicans, which causes candidiasis, commonly known as a yeast infection
- Viruses (viral infections), such as influenza and hepatitis A
- Other pathogens (microorganisms which cause disease)
Together, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other pathogens are responsible for dozens of different hospital infections. Some common examples include:
- Bacterial meningitis
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs or CAUTIs)
- Central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)
- Injection site infections
- Surgical site infections (SSIs)
While Maryland has a lower incidence rate of CLABSI compared to the national average, it also has a higher rate of C. difficile infections, SSIs, and CAUTIs. When left untreated, these and other kinds of hospital infections can have an array of painful and debilitating complications, some of which can be deadly. Depending on the speed and efficacy of treatment, and the nature of the infection, examples of complications or side effects can include:
- Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood)
- High fever
- Kidney damage
- Low birth weight and premature birth
- Medically necessary amputations
- Pain or tenderness
- Pus or discharge
- Septic shock (extremely low blood pressure)
- Skin rashes
- Tissue death (necrosis)
Can You Sue a Hospital for Infections in Maryland?
The short answer to this question is that it depends on the circumstances under which the infection and resulting complications developed. In general, hospitals or individual medical professionals may be liable if their actions or failures to act breached the acceptable standard of care, resulting in preventable death or injury to a patient. For example, a hospital or hospital worker might be liable if the infection was caused by a careless error, such as failure to remove a catheter properly, failing to maintain clean and hygienic operating rooms, or prescribing antibiotics when not medically appropriate.
These types of mistakes might be caused by inexperience, fatigue, disorganization, misdiagnoses, failures to diagnose, lack of proper supervision, or another breakdown somewhere in the chain of protocols designed to protect patients. Our hospital injury attorneys are highly experienced in handling claims of this nature, and can help determine whether you or your loved one has grounds to file a lawsuit against one or more parties. The party who caused your injuries may be responsible for compensating you – not only for the harm you have already sustained, but also for losses and expenses you are expected to incur in the future as a result of the infection injury.
Baltimore Hospital Infection Injury Lawyers Serving Patients Throughout Maryland
The Maryland hospital infection lawyers of Bennett & Heyman, P.A. possess more than half a century of combined experience handling malpractice and injury claims on behalf of patients and their family members. If you or someone you love developed a hospital infection that was improperly treated, we can fight to recover monetary compensation on your behalf.
Let us be your advocates in the fight for justice. To set up a free legal consultation with our Baltimore hospital infection attorneys, contact Bennett & Heyman online, or call our law offices at (410) 429-7856 today.