"We check into a hospital expecting to get better, but sometimes sloppiness or negligence can end up making us feel worse. Hospital-acquired infections occur when some type of bacteria or germ enters the system of a patient due to procedures or devices used at a hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the term Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) since these illnesses can come from numerous sources. Among the most common types of HAIs are Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections, Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections, Surgical Site Infections, and Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia.
If you or a loved one has become sick due to an infection that came from a hospital or other medical facility, then you may be the victim of negligence and medical malpractice. Call a New York medical malpractice attorney at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353. Tell us about your case and we can talk about your options and help you understand how to move forward with your health and wellbeing.
Any healthcare-associated infection typically refers to an illness caused by exposure to a bacteria or virus that occurs while at a hospital or other medical care facility. This can happen during a surgical procedure or due to improperly sterilized equipment and usually involves either internal or external sources relating to a person's body.
Internal sources include any sorts of microorganisms that normally exist within certain parts of a person. If proper care is not taken during surgery, these microorganisms can be spread from where they belong to other parts of the body and cause sickness. External sources refer to any virus or bacteria that come from the environment around a patient and end up inside him or her.
Though there are many different types of infections that can occur, four in particular are the most common:
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI): This type of infection occurs when a central line is not properly sterilized, or care is not taken while cleaning and changing dressing. A central line is a type of catheter placed in a large vein in the neck, chest, or groin of a patient to deliver medication, often used in intensive care. If sterilization is not ensured, bacteria can enter a patient's bloodstream through the central line and cause an infection.
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI): Urinary catheters are among the most common medical items used in hospitals. Urinary tract infections from unsanitary or improperly maintained catheters are the most common HAIs reported. These can typically be avoided by using urinary catheters only for a short time.
- Surgical Site Infection (SSI): Since surgery exposes a patient to his or her surroundings, it is important that surgeons maintain proper sterility in the operating room. SSIs occur when an infection happens at the location of a surgery on a person's body. Skin infections are usually quite minor, though serious infections can involve a person's organs or surgical implants. Proper use of antibiotics can handle most SSIs, as long as they are caught quickly and diagnosed accurately.
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP): A ventilator is used to help a patient breathe, typically through a tube inserted into a patient's mouth, nose, or throat. The ventilator pumps oxygen into a patient's lungs, but can also pump bacteria into the person if not handled properly. Sterilization is vital and doctors should watch for any early signs of infection or pneumonia during or after use of a ventilator.
They can be, yes, but not all HAIs occur due to malpractice. Determining when malpractice has occurred can be quite difficult and usually relies on a case review by other medical professionals, who can testify in court about negligence that occurred. This is not something you should try to do on your own; instead call on the knowledge and experience of a professional medical malpractice attorney.
If you or someone you love has suffered from an infection after any medical procedure, then call us today at (212) 986-7353. Discuss your case with one of the lawyers of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP and we can explore your options.