3 Infections That Are Caused By Medical Error

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2023

There is an already high risk for patients to suffer an infection when receiving treatment at a hospital, but especially when medical error is involved. Here are the three common types of infections caused by medical error.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph infection. Staphylococci are bacteria that can be transmitted from person to person and live on surfaces such as linens. MRSA can cause swollen, painful, and tender bumps, possibly full of pus and accompanied by a fever. It typically impacts the skin, but can spread to the bloodstream, lungs, urinary tract, and other parts of the body. If not treated promptly, MRSA can be fatal and may be resistant to antibiotics used to treat other types of staph infections. 

Catheter-Associated Bloodstream Infection

The majority of patients receiving treatment in hospitals will receive fluids, medications, or have blood or urine drawn through catheter tubes. However, when tubes are not sterile, bacteria can enter the body through the line or at the point where the tube was inserted. As a result, the infection can quickly enter the bloodstream, leading to potentially life-threatening complications. Signs of infection include redness at the site or red streaks around it, swelling and warmth, yellow or green drainage, pain or discomfort, and fever.

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) refers to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Enterococci bacteria live benignly on human skin, female genitals, and in the intestines. Still, it is possible for them to invade the urinary tract, bloodstream, surgical wounds or sites of catheters. In a hospital setting this type of infection is most often transmitted during surgery or from catheters. Symptoms can include red and tender skin, fever, chills, swelling, and a fast heart rate.

How Medical Errors Can Lead to Infections

Hospitals and other medical care settings are required to take extensive measures to ensure a sterile and safe environment for patients. Anything less than the standard of care expected of them can be considered medical negligence. For example: 

  • Lack of sanitization protocols
  • Unsanitary surfaces or medical equipment
  • Failure to disinfect equipment
  • Failure to change linens
  • Failure to wash hands
  • Failure to clean the site where a central line will be placed
  • Failure to wear a mask, gown, cap, and sterile gloves
  • Failure to use a sterile cover for a patient’s body
  • Failure to cover a catheter with gauze or plastic tape once in place
  • Contaminated water
  • Improperly maintained HVAC systems
  • Delay in treatment

Typically, if an infection occurs within 48 hours of a hospital stay, within 30 days after surgery, or three days after discharge, it could have been caused by a medical error. 

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Legal Options for Medical Error-Acquired Infections

A hospital or another medical provider can be liable if a medical error leads to an infection. Injured patients have the right to file a claim and recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. If you have suffered from an infection you believe to have been caused due to medical negligence, speak to a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer to discuss your legal options.