The risk of a post-surgery infection is always present when anyone undergoes a surgical procedure. Patients who suffer harm due to an undiagnosed or untreated post-surgery infection can file a legal claim for medical malpractice when the infection results in injuries. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you fight to protect your rights against negligent doctors and hospitals.
If you or someone you love have suffered injuries because of a post-surgical infection, call the Baltimore-based office of Bennett & Heyman, PA. With more than 70 years of combined legal experience and a strong track record of multi-millionaire awards, our lawyers will fight for your rights every step of the way. For a free consultation, contact us today at (410) 727-2168.
Common Types of Infections After a Surgery
Most surgeries involve a cut or incision in the skin that can lead to the development of a post-surgical infection. Since there is a common risk of post-surgery infections, there are strict standards for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infections.
There are well-established standards of care doctors are supposed to provide that begin with post-surgical treatments and monitoring of the wound’s healing progress. Ignoring obvious symptoms of latent infection is a basis for medical malpractice. Common signs of post-surgical Infections include:
- Pus or drainage
- A bad smell coming from the wound
- An elevated heart rate
- Persistent pain or discomfort
- Abnormal swelling or redness
- Excessive restlessness
- Elevated body temperature
- Yellowish color or jaundice
- Breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
If your medical team knew of the symptoms above but failed to treat you, your physician and the hospital are probably liable for your injuries.
Post-Surgery Standards of Care Your Doctor May Not Have Followed
A successful medical malpractice case requires evidence of the standard of care owed by the doctor and the hospital to its patient. Given the numerous and latent risks of infection, a surgeon’s duty doesn’t end right after completion of the surgery, even if it was successful. Skilled attorneys generally base legal claims on the widely known standards of care used in Baltimore hospitals.
The post-operative stage of recovery requires consistent medical attention. Most infections appear within the first 30 days after surgery. As such, your medical care providers must support your health during that period.
Signs and Symptoms of Surgical Infections that Call for Immediate Legal Action
The timing of post-operative care can mean the difference between life and death for a patient recovering from surgery. The applicable standard of hospital care can vary depending on the type of surgery and the patient’s medical history. However, most competent physicians and medical teams should act immediately.
A qualified attorney can review what happened in your case or in the case of your loved one to determine if you can file a civil action for negligence. Whether the difference between your injury and fully recovery was an hour or minutes of treatment, your attorney can evaluate your case accordingly.
For example, the risk of sepsis is present in virtually all surgeries. Sepsis is a common infection after surgeries and is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream. According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, sepsis strikes more than a million Americans each year, and as many as 30% of those patients may die from it.
With these national statistics, your doctor and hospital have a duty to implement protocols and procedures to act quickly when symptoms arise. Sepsis requires proactive measures such as intravenous treatment with antibiotics and fluids. Under current standards, sepsis should be considered a medical emergency since it’s widely known that the risk of death from sepsis increases with every hour that passes before treatment begins.
If a patient is at a higher risk of contracting an infection, the hospital should have a protocol in place to monitor the symptoms frequently. The fact that you’re at greater risk doesn’t excuse negligence.
Failure to Diagnose and Treat an Infection is a Violation of the Standard of Care
Diagnosis failures can also constitute negligence. There is no specific timing requirement because some infections can progress faster than others. The legal standard calls for exercising a degree of care and skill expected from a reasonably competent hospital in the same or similar circumstances.
You can file a claim based on the progression of the localized infection caused by the original negligent act and the continuing failure to treat that infection, the result of which is generally pain and suffering. For example, there are germs in the environment and even on your skin that can spread to an open wound. Laboratories can identify strains of bacteria using commonly available tests and techniques.
Hospital Waivers and Medical Malpractice Claims
Even with an explanation of the risks and the signing of a “release” or “waiver” form, you may still have a legal claim for medical malpractice if your doctors or hospital staff were negligent in the care of a post-surgical infection. Most people assume that they can’t sue the doctor or hospital for negligence if they sign a release form before surgery. However, the liability release form doesn’t negate legal responsibility for negligent actions in the diagnosis and care of post-operative infections.
Call Your Baltimore, MD Post-Surgical Infection Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love received substandard post-surgical care resulting in an infection, contact the law office of Bennett and Heyman, PA to speak to one of our legal professionals. During your free and private consultation, we can help determine if you can file a lawsuit for your losses. We are known for our relentless pursuit of justice and for seeking maximum compensation for our clients’ losses. Call (410) 727-2168 to schedule your appointment today.