Can Patients Sue For A Hospital Acquired Infection?
Whenever one visits a medical clinic, hospital, or other related facility, they run the risk of acquiring a hospital acquired infection, which is another term for an infection that one picked up or developed within a medical unit such as a hospital. Studies have shown that up to five percent of patients who enter a hospital will eventually acquire an infection of some kind directly due to the visit. In the worst case scenarios there is also a possibility that the infection one acquires in the hospital may be the one that eventually takes one’s life.
Another term for hospital acquired infections is nosocomial infections, and between 17,000 and 70,000 people lose their lives each year to such infections in the United States alone.
Reasons for Infection
There are three important factors that are necessary for an infection to establish itself within the body and pose a threat to a patient’s life:
- First of all, an infectious agent of some kind must be present, such as a virus, protozoan, or bacterium. These are typically present throughout hospitals since they are filled with sick people and may house a number of infections agents that can be spread to other people.
- Second, there must be a way for the infection to spread from one patient to the next. This will usually be due to hospital staff that don’t change gloves and wash their hands when moving from one patient to the next.
- The third factor involves an immune system that is weakened or otherwise susceptible in some way.
Contacting a Lawyer
A hospital acquired infection can cause undue stress and medical bills and time aside from the initial reason a patient entered the hospital to begin with. Treatments associated with clearing such an infection can be costly, time-consuming, and sometimes painful. In especially serious cases a hospital-induced infection can lead to amputation and even death.
Those patient’s that feel their infection was the direct result of hospital staff negligence or malpractice may be able to offset economic and non-economic costs associated with treating their infection. Patients should contact a lawyer experienced in these types of claims in order to determine if their suit is a valid one. Lawyers knowledgeable about these sorts of claims can help patients accurately file a suit, as well as help them obtain necessary evidence and expert testimony. As the statute of limitations vary according to state it is imperative that patients contact a lawyer shortly after becoming aware of their injuries.
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