Philadelphia Hospital Infection Lawyer

The fourth greatest killer in the United States is infection that is contracted during a hospital procedure. An incredible 5 percent of all hospital patients per year sustain an infection while they’re being treated. Of those 2 million patients, more than 100,000 die. Most hospital infections could be prevented with better use of intravenous catheters, by complying with the best pre-surgical methods and with improved hygiene.

Patients frequently ask if malpractice exists when a hospital patient sustains an infection. Hospitals are a great breeding ground for all types of germs, bacteria and viruses that can attack a patient with an open wound or weakened immune system.

Patients are most often infected in one of the following ways.

  • Infections to the bloodstream as a result of surgery
  • Urinary infections as a result of a contaminated catheter
  • Infections to the bloodstream from tubes placed on the chest, neck or groin to drain fluids, give drugs or collect blood
  • Unsanitary hospital staff habits

A seemingly minor medical issue or a severe problem can be greatly exacerbated if an infection occurs. Infection can even be deadly if it spreads to a vital organ. Patients who survive a serious infection must endure many weeks or months of harsh treatments that can have equally severe adverse reactions.

If a patient becomes infected while in the hospital, it’s imperative to investigate the purpose of the hospital visit, the chance of that kind of procedure causing infection and how the hospital attempted to lower the chance of infection for that type of procedure. Cases of infection have to be examined to determine the following.

  • Did the hospital have a plan to deal with infections?
  • Did the hospital staff follow the procedure?
  • Did the attending doctors correctly monitor the use and distribution of antibiotics?
  • Were the proper sterilization procedures followed?
  • Is there some other explanation for the infection that occurred?

Sometimes, a hospital is not responsible if a patient contracts an infection. Other times, they can be held responsible for not correctly and rapidly identifying and dealing with the infection. To establish malpractice, it is necessary to prove that the hospital didn’t have an effective plan to deal with infections or that they did not follow their own plans. It must also be proven that a reasonable hospital would not have made such an error that resulted in the patient’s injury. Proving that the hospital’s plan was inadequate is also a way to establish negligence.

Doctors used to think that infection was an unavoidable gamble during any hospital visit. However, if a hospital uses a basic infection checklist, it can effectively reduce the rate of patient infection by following these ten steps.

  1. Stop smoking a few weeks before surgery.
  2. Ask your doctor to wipe the flat area of the stethoscope with alcohol before using it to examine you.
  3. Right before your operation, take a shower using 4 percent chlorhexidine soap.
  4. All aides, nurses and aestheticians must wash their hands before handling you.
  5. To lessen the chance for infection, only people who are required for the procedure may be in the operating room.
  6. Make sure the staff administers pre-surgical antibiotics an hour before the surgery begins.
  7. Seven days before your admission, get a test for Staphylococcus aureus.
  8. Don’t shave the site of your surgery because razors can cut the skin. Use clippers.
  9. Have the physician use a central line catheter with an antibiotic or protective coating.
  10. IVs must be changed every 3 or 4 days after surgery.

If you became infected during a hospital procedure, call us toll free at 800-753-4257, or contact us online for a free case evaluation