Bringing a Medical Malpractice Claim After Receiving a Hospital InfectionNew Jersey Legal News
When you check into a hospital, you are under the impression that you will receive the best care as possible, whether you are going through a surgical procedure, having tests done, or have a medical issue that required the emergency room. When you are in a hospital’s care, you expect that you will leave the facility in good condition and that you can trust the care that is given to you. However, many patients receive hospital-acquired infections (also known as HAI) every single year, some of which are quite severe or even life-threatening.
The last thing you think of when you think of a hospital is the fact that you could receive an infection at the hands of a negligent care provider. The truth is, one of these infections could cost you everything and cause significant long-term consequences for your health, which is why hospitals and medical centers should be held liable when these incidents do occur. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that HAIs account for approximately 1.7 million infections every year – which end in approximately 99,000 preventable deaths. The largest amount, at 32%, are caused by urinary tract infections, but other popular infections include those at surgical sites, pneumonia, and infections of the bloodstream.
Some patients are at a high risk of receiving a life-threatening infection, especially in those who are young children, elderly, or those who have a compromised immune system due to other diseases. Anybody in a hospital could receive one of these infections under certain circumstances and a lack of care.
If you believe that you have received a serious or deadly infection in a hospital setting, there are some questions you should ask to determine if another party could be liable for the complications that result:
- Did you have a compromised immune system when you checked into the hospital, which increased your risk of infection?
- If you received an infection in a hospital setting, did you seek treatment for it right away?
- What parties might have contributed to the infection through their lack of proper care?
What Difficulties Could I Experience in Proving My Medical Malpractice Claim?
You might find that it is not always easy to bring a medical malpractice claim, especially when it comes to determining liability. Physicians and hospitals are supposed to have one major focus: the overall health of a patient. Especially in patients with a heightened risk of being harmed by an infection, a hospital who fails to take steps to prevent an HAI could be found to be negligent if you decide to bring a medical malpractice case. Sometimes, you might be able to bring a claim against a hospital, while, other times, you might have a claim against an individual who acted in a harmful manner. For instance, if a doctor failed to wash their hands before a procedure and this led to the infection, you might have the right to file a claim.
If a patient is still being hospitalized when they receive an infection, it is obvious that they have probably obtained that infection from the hospital and an individual or their family will have an easier time bringing a claim. However, what happens if somebody has already checked out of the hospital or their infection was less severe? They will have to do a bit more digging when they bring their claim so that they can recall each person they came into contact with, the treatment that they received, equipment that made contact with them, and many other factors.
No matter what, a hospital or other care facility owes a duty of care to patients, with a promise that they will keep the environment clean and infection-free. If a hospital does not live up to this standard and you are harmed as a result, you will more than likely be able to bring a claim for compensation after being harmed at the hands of a negligent party.
When a Hospital or Care Provider Denies Liability
Of course, medical malpractice claims are most likely to fall flat when you aren’t able to show that somebody else is liable for the adverse treatment you received. What if the hospital not only denies liability for your HAI but they are now pointing the finger at you, claiming that you contributed to your own harm?
Take this, for example: perhaps you received surgery and, the next day, you were able to go home to your family. However, you were given instructions to receive follow-up care a week from the surgery and take certain medications that would prevent infections. If it is found that you did not receive the follow-up care and you never filled your prescription, there is a good chance that you might not be entitled to compensation. Somebody who has received a hospitalization must take proper care to follow all strict medical instructions to avoid serious illness.
How Providers Are Preventing HAIs in Hospital Settings
Many measures are being taken to prevent HAIs now that we know about them and want to save others from harm. For instance, here are some of the top recommendations for preventative care:
- Healthcare providers should always clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based rubs. This is true before giving care to any patient.
- The skin at a catheter site should always be cleaned upon insertion and removal.
- Providers must always wear masks, gowns, and gloves when they are supposed to.
How a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
In any medical setting, providers are supposed to act in a professional way and reduce the likelihood that you will be harmed by their lack of care. If you believe that a medical professional acted below the duty of care and, as a result, you have been injured or fell ill, you might have a right to a New Jersey medical malpractice claim. Our attorneys at Brady, Brady & Reilly are fully skilled and dedicated to the job at hand and will ensure that you are treated fairly throughout this process. We will help you bring a personal injury claim for damages that will help you through this challenging time in your life. Please contact us at (201) 997-0030 for more information.