Are Bacterial Infections From a Hospital Considered Medical Malpractice?

When we examine data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see that on any single day, approximately one out of every 31 patients in the hospital has at least one healthcare-acquired infection. Not every infection that a person sustains in a healthcare setting is the fault of a medical provider, but there are steps that healthcare workers can and should take to prevent infections from occurring. In some cases, bacterial infections could be considered medical malpractice.

How Could an Infection Be a Medical Mistake?

When Johns Hopkins released data showing that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country, most people did not think about hospital-acquired infections as medical errors. When most people think of medical errors, they think about surgical mistakes, anesthesia errors, misdiagnoses, and more. However, even though bacterial infections in a hospital do occur in ways that are not caused by medical professionals, many of these infections are preventable and are caused by the negligent actions of medical staff.

Even though most bacterial infections that occur in a hospital are no danger to the patient when treated properly, these types of illnesses could cause significant long-term complications if they go undiagnosed and untreated for too long. Complications that can develop include sepsis, which is a full-body infection, as well as septic shock, which can begin shutting down organs.

There are various ways that bacterial infections could be the fault of medical professionals or hospital staff. Some of these factors include:

  • The frequency with which staff wash their hands
  • The use or misuse of antibiotics for a patient
  • The care you used during invasive procedures such as ivy administration, intubation, catheterization, etc.
  • Improper steps taken during surgical procedures

It is very difficult to show exactly how an infection was transmitted. Typically, an individual in the hospital will likely have many points of possible bacterial infection transmission. One thing that is often able to be seen is that the infection occurred after the patient was admitted, which means the hospital itself is likely to be where the infection occurred.

Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim

Proving medical malpractice claims are difficult. You can be sure that a hospital or the medical staff accused of causing the infection will push back from having to pay out any compensation in a claim. Plaintiffs (the person who sustained the infection) and their legal team will have to prove that the infection was caused at the hospital that it was caused due to the careless or negligent actions of the medical professionals in the facility. Additionally, it will need to be shown that the plaintiff suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the bacterial infection. This can include increased medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more. In the event a person sustains an infection in the hospital that is promptly diagnosed and treated, it is unlikely that they will suffer any sort of damages that would give rise to a medical malpractice claim.

Contact a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer today for a free case evaluation to see if you might be entitled to compensation.