Trusted Legal Counsel, Following a Hospital Acquired Infection

Have you ever had friends or families tell you stories about someone they knew who went into a hospital for a routine operation or treatment and then got worse? It happens. If you or a loved on his experienced this, please give us a call at (504)830-3838, or send us a message online to set up a consultation with our attorneys and determine if you have a viable hospital acquired infection lawsuit

Why Hospitals Put You at Greater Risk 

The reality is that hospitals are breeding grounds for deadly and dangerous infections. There are many hospitals that do a good to excellent job of avoiding infecting patients with something they did not have when they checked in.

Unfortunately, there are many hospitals that don’t do a very good job. Hospitals can be the epicenter of difficult-to-kill bacteria. Viral and fungal infections also occur in hospitals.

When a person is infected with a disease that they did not have when they entered the hospital, they have a Hospital Acquired Infection, also known as a Healthcare Associated Infection.

Surgical suite with operating table and related technology.

What are Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI)?

HAI are infections that a patient did not have when they entered the hospital. Patients can show symptoms of the acquired infection after about 48 hours from admission. These are considered HAI. Patients can also show symptoms of infections after discharge. If the infecting organism was acquired during the hospital stay, it is also HAI.

Per the Center for Disease Control, about 648,000 people develop and infection each year from a hospital stay. About 75,000 will die from that infection.

Compare that to about half that number who die from automobile accidents. We did not lose that many men and women during the Vietnamese War that lasted about 20 years for Americans.

Primary Causes of HAI

There are two primary causes of HAI.

Woman receiving an IV.

The first is direct body contact between a host and a patient. These include:

  • A person turning a patient
  • Giving a patient a bath
  • Other patient care activities
  • Patient to patient transmission

The second cause is contact with an inanimate object. These include:

  • Contaminated instruments
  • Needles
  • Dressings
  • Contaminated gloves
  • Saline flush syringes
  • Vials
  • Bags

These incidents happen even when workers have access to gloves, disposable needles, flushes, and intravenous devices. All hospitals have protocols to prevent HAI, but these protocols fail and fail more often in some hospitals than others.

Prevention

Prevention of HAI resides with the individual hospital. There are many guidelines and protocols issued by institutions like the National Institute of Health.

Hospitals are well-informed in preventing HAI. Recommendations include:

Hand washing: It is recommended to wash as often as possible, use alcoholic hand spray, and remove jewelry before washing. 

Stethoscope: cleaning with an alcohol swab at least daily

Gloves: supplement rather than replace hand washing

Intravenous catheter: recommendations include thorough disinfection of skin before insertion, and changing administration sets every 72 hours.

What's out

  • Hand washing: using a brush
  • Mask:
    • routine use in theatre
    • during wound dressing
  • Gowning: routine use in neonatal units
  • White coats: enforced use in clinical units
  • Intravenous catheter:
    • routine removal of peripheral catheters after 72 hours
    • use of impermeable, transparent dressings
    • in-line bacterial filters

How to Treat HAI

Treatment of HAI follow the same procedures as any treatment of the invasive infection. The best treatment is to avoid having to do by preventing the infection before in happens.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have any questions about the hospital’s responsibility in HAI and later problems it caused a patient, please send us a message online, or call us at (504)830-3838 to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.

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Disclaimer
Submission of information on an unsolicited basis does not create an attorney/client relationship. Correspondence with any member of this firm prior to confirmation of representation does not create an attorney/client relationship and may not be subject to the attorney/client privilege.

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