Each day in the U.S., one in 25 hospital patients will contract an infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These infections are known as hospital-acquired infections, and they are the cause of tens of thousands of deaths every year.
The reputable Hyannis, MA, medical malpractice attorneys at Kevin P Landry Law Firm have compiled these answers to the most frequently asked questions about hospital-acquired infections. If you have further questions or wish to discuss your claim with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.
What are the Different Types of Hospital Acquired Infections?
Hospital-acquired infections develop while a patient is staying at a medical facility. They occur while a patient is receiving treatment for another disease or health condition. Hospital-acquired infections may occur at:
- Long-term health care facilities
- End-stage renal disease facilities
- Surgical centers
This can include a range of infections that could be contracted in a health care environment. The most common types of hospital-acquired infections include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA)
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Central line bloodstream infections
- Surgical site infections
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR CONTRACTING A HOSPITAL-ACQUIRED INFECTION?
Hospital-acquired infections can affect any patient staying at a health care facility. Certain patients are at a higher risk of developing such an infection. These patients include:
- Those who are in critical condition or extremely ill
- Post-operative patients
- Catheterized patients
- Patients on ventilators
- Patients with hemodialysis catheters for treatment of kidney failure
- Patients who have misused or consumed too many antibiotics
However, the primary risk factor for the spread of hospital-acquired infections is lack of cleanliness. This includes:
- Poor indoor air quality and filtration
- Contaminated water systems
- Unsterile work surfaces
- Non-sanitary medical devices
- Higher concentrations of patients within the facility
- Poor hygiene of staff, such as the failure to wash and sanitize hands
- Not exercising proper care during intubation, urine catheterization or administering of intravenous drugs
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated and require a skilled attorney who understands both the medical industry and personal injury law.
In order to have a case, your Hyannis, MA medical malpractice attorney must prove that the medical professional was negligent in providing care. This means that his or her conduct fell below a standard recognized by the law that protects others from reasonable harm. Some of the elements required for proving this include:
1. THERE WAS A DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP
In the eyes of the law, a doctor-patient relationship means that the doctor, or medical professional, has a duty to provide you with competent care that falls within accepted standards. This is generally easy to prove as a doctor-patient relationship generally exists if a doctor was providing you with treatment. Even if no set agreement was made, this relationship will exist if the doctor provided a diagnosis or treatment.
2. THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL PROVIDED NEGLIGENT (OR CARELESS) CARE
Doctors are required to treat patients with the care and skill that a physician with similar knowledge and expertise would provide under similar circumstances. This is commonly known as the “medical standard of care.” It is one of the most contested elements in a medical malpractice case.
Experts will likely be called to testify on the appropriate level of care that should have been provided in your situation and if the at-fault party provided care within accepted standards.
We regularly work with a number of medical experts who help our attorneys determine the specifics of the injuries you suffered, how severe your injuries were, if the medical professional acted responsibly and what type of compensation you deserve based on your injuries.
3. A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL’S NEGLIGENCE DIRECTLY CAUSED YOUR INJURIES
Another vital, yet difficult element to prove in medical malpractice cases is that a medical professional’s negligence or error directly caused your injuries. We must be able to demonstrate that you would not have suffered the injury if it were not for the medical professional’s wrongful act. It must be clear that your injuries cannot be attributed to anything other than the doctor’s negligence.
This can be difficult to do because the team of attorneys for the medical professional and hospital or healthcare facility will do everything they can to deny that your injuries were a direct result of the medical professional’s actions. They will likely attempt to claim that your injuries were preexisting or were caused by something other than their client. They may even try to blame your injuries on something you did.
When speaking with our medical malpractice attorneys, it is vital that you provide us with as much detail and information as possible so that our team can utilize our resources and the opinions of experts to develop a strong argument on your behalf.
4. YOU SUFFERED ACTUAL HARM (DAMAGES)
Every medical malpractice victim must be able to prove that he or she suffered harm, or damages, from a medical professional’s poor care. This can include the cost for additional treatment, income that was lost from missing work, and physical and mental pain and suffering.
5. PROOF BY A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE
Every medical malpractice case must be able to demonstrate proof of each of these elements by a preponderance of evidence, which means these things are more likely to be true than not.
CONTACT OUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS TODAY
Medical malpractice claims are unique and require an experienced attorney. If you believe you have been harmed because of a medical professional’s negligence, contact Kevin P Landry Law Offices for a free consultation to review the details of your claim. We do not get paid unless you get compensation.