What are my legal rights if I acquire a serious bacterial infection while in the hospital?
People go to the hospital when they are in urgent need of care for an illness or injury. While most of us expect that the hospital will return us to health, at times a trip to the hospital can result in grave illness or even death. Every year, an estimated 650,000 people in the United States will contract an infection in the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 75,000 of those who become ill will die. Our New York medical malpractice lawyers discuss your legal rights if you acquire a hospital based infection below.
Hospitals Often Host Diseases and Infections
Hospitals are a common site for serious bacteria and illnesses. Hospitals generally care for the sickest of patients. With so many patients with potentially deadly infections congregated in one place, the risk of spread of infection increases significantly. Additionally, hospitals often reuse equipment between patients, and health care workers themselves can become vectors for the transport of illnesses and bacteria.
In recent years, the over prescription of antibiotics has led to the emergence of superbugs. While antibiotics have important life saving uses, doling out antibiotics to patients with viruses or other illness that could be cured without such treatment has contributed to warped strains of bacteria. These bacteria are increasingly not responding to the use of traditional antibiotics, and when a patient contracts a so-called superbug in the hospital, the results can be devastating.
Medical Negligence and Hospital Malpractice
Not all instances of bacterial infections acquired in the hospital will give rise to a medical malpractice case. To have a viable medical malpractice action, the injured plaintiff must prove that the bacterial infection or other illness was acquired due to negligence on the part of the hospital, physician, or hospital staff. Instances of medical malpractice leading to infections could include the failure to properly sanitize medical equipment, neglect of the patient, surgical errors causing infections, poor hygiene when it comes to rooms and patients, and the like.
Patients who contract a serious illness while in the hospital should consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will review the facts surrounding the case and determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice action.