We Represent Victims of Infection in Hospitals
Our law firm holds negligent healthcare providers accountable
Any location that has a large number of sick people in a small space is a potential hotbed of infection, and hospitals are no exception. Infections acquired in hospitals can be especially dangerous because they may be resistant to medication. That’s why it’s so important for hospitals to take steps to control the spread of infection.
No hospital can completely eliminate the risk of infection, but all hospitals owe a duty of care to their patients to take reasonable steps to prevent infections. When they don’t, our law firm takes action. Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience handling cases involving infections and other hospital injuries. If the hospital failed to protect you, we’re on your side.
Common types of hospital-acquired infections
In the medical field, infections acquired during inpatient care are called “nosocomial” infections. A patient is said to have a nosocomial infection when the infection occurs up to 48 hours after hospital admission, up to three days after discharge or up to 30 days after an operation. An infection is also said to be nosocomial if it occurs in a healthcare facility when the patient was admitted for reasons other than the infection and showed no signs on admission of an active or incubating infection.
Nearly any infection can occur in a hospital setting, but patients are particularly at risk of the following:
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI): Urinary tract infections (UTI) are infections involving the urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys. Catheter-associated UTIs are unfortunately common because nearly a quarter of hospital patients need a urine catheter at some point during their stay. A negligent medical provider might cause a UTI by using a catheter when it is not medically necessary or leaving the catheter in the patient for longer than necessary.
- Surgical Site Infection (SSI): Infections that occur at surgical sites can be life-threatening. They may involve tissues under the skin, internal organs or surgically implanted material. Medical providers may contribute to these dangerous infections by failing to properly sterilize tools or not following protocol when they “scrub in” to an operating room.
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI): Central lines are tubes placed in major veins in the neck, chest or groin for the purpose of giving medication or collecting blood for medical tests. When an infection enters the bloodstream through a central line, the patient’s life may be at risk. Negligent care providers may put patients at elevated risk of infection by failing to take proper hygiene precautions when the line is placed or leaving the line in place longer than needed.
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP): Patients who need ventilators to help them breathe may be at risk of infection if germs can enter the lungs through the breathing tube. In order to prevent infection, hospital staff need to keep the head of the patient’s bed properly angled and they need to clean the equipment, the patient and their own hands consistently. They also need to carefully monitor the patient’s ability to breathe on his or her own in order to remove the ventilator as soon as possible.
Poor communication and coordination of care are often to blame for hospital-acquired infections, as leaving medical equipment in place for longer than necessary significantly increases the risk of such an infection. In addition, hospitals have a responsibility to make sure doctors, nurses and other staff are appropriately following hygiene protocols. When they do not, they put their patients at serious risk.
If you or a loved one has become sick with a hospital-acquired infection, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 212-736-0979.