Many of these cases are preventable. Many hospitalized patients are already susceptible to infection, and hospitals should take all precautions to prevent illness. The risk of infection significantly increases when hospital and medical staff practice poor hygiene standards or other forms of negligence.
A potential cause for an infection is when medical staff fails to adequately wash their hands or when they use unsterile garments, such as gloves and masks. Using unsterile items like sheets and blankets can also contribute to the risk of infection. Failing to properly cleanse an area receiving a catheter or being operated upon can also lead to infection.
Infections can also occur when medical staff does not regularly change bandages. The staff may also keep certain types of equipment, such as catheters, in the patient for longer than necessary. Not cleaning and replacing the equipment can also lead to infection.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, hospital-acquired infections impact between five and ten percent of patients hospitalized each year in the state. Over 80,000 are infected and nearly 4,000 lose their lives as a result.
One common type of infection is a catheter-associated bloodstream infection. This occurs when a bacteria enters the body through a central catheter or line and travels into the bloodstream. Catheters can also lead to urinary tract infections. Germs that enter the tube can spread to the kidneys or bladder.
An infection can develop at the site of surgery too. Superficial infections may not be serious. But if the infection enters the deeper tissue, implanted material, or organs, it could be life-threatening. Unfortunately, some patients require a second surgery to treat it.
Another type of hospital infection is ventilator-associated pneumonia. The tube placed into a patient’s nose, mouth or a hole in the neck could become contaminated. As is true with other types of infections, it is generally treatable but still poses a serious risk.
If you suspect that negligence led to your or a loved one’s infection, seek legal advice. It can be challenging to prove negligence caused an infection. An attorney will need to evaluate the details and circumstances of the case to determine if there is a legitimate claim.
Victims, or the family members, should also begin collecting evidence that could help prove an infection was preventable. Medical records and lab results are examples. However, oftentimes it requires the help of expert testimony or even witnesses who saw the act of negligence to build a strong case.
Ryan, LLP helps victims of negligence in and around Cleveland. Call us at 877-864-9495 to schedule your consultation and get started on your case.