Hospital-acquired infections continue to plague our nation's healthcare system. Although regulatory authorities state that most hospital-acquired infections are preventable, proving who is responsible and how the infection was acquired is oftentimes an impossible task and makes pursuit of a malpractice claim difficult at best.
Sometimes the source of an infection can be linked to improperly sterilized surgical equipment, but unless the hospital has identified this as the source, there is probably little one can do to prove the source of the infection.
Most malpractice claims involving hospital-acquired infections involve the physician's failure to timely diagnose and treat a post-surgical infection and the patient suffers catastrophic harm as a result of the delay. Examples of negligence in this setting include:
Failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of infection, including fever, elevated heart rate, redness or red streaks around the surgical wound, increased swelling and tenderness around the wound, pus-like or foul smelling drainage from the wound
Failure to culture the wound to identify the offending bug so that appropriate antibiotics can be selected
Oftentimes the patient has already been discharged from the hospital and is calling the surgeon's clinic to advise the clinic of signs and symptoms that are suggestive of an infection that needs immediate attention. Malpractice claims arise when the clinic minimizes these complaints, suggesting that the patient is experiencing normal post-operative pain and improperly assures that patient that they will feel better over time. In the meantime the infection progresses and can lead to catastrophic results if timely treatment is not received.
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury due to the delay in diagnosing or treating a hospial-acquired infection, contact Bill Maddix, your Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer, for a free consultation.
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Call (612) 418-0263