New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Failure to Prevent or Treat Infection
We go to the hospital hoping to get better and not contract a serious infection of the skin, bloodstream, or major organs. Unfortunately, a Hospital-Acquired Infection or Healthcare-Acquired Infection (HAI) is more common than many think. In fact, in a recent year, approximately 1.7 million patients contracted an HAI. Many of these infections prove fatal.
Although an infection may be a common complication with an illness or surgery, many are preventable or treatable. In some circumstances, failure to prevent or treat an infection could be considered medical malpractice. If you or a loved one contracted an HAI and suffered further injury and illness because of it, you may be able to seek compensation from the doctor or healthcare facility. We can help. Contact Harris Keenan & Goldfarb at 800-724-6529 for a consultation about your case.
Ignoring Signs of Infection Could Be Medical Malpractice
Identifying signs of infection and properly diagnosing one is a skilled job. An error in diagnosing or treating a serious infection can have tragic consequences. If a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional ignores signs of infection or fails to take steps to prevent the spread of infection, then the chances of serious complications for immune-compromised patients are high.
Common Physician Errors Concerning Infections
Infections have many sources:
While the symptoms of an infection are common, its treatment may depend on the source. Medical malpractice cases emerge from various healthcare provider scenarios, such as:
- Failure to identify the source or cause of the infection
- Failure to obtain culture samples of the infection before prescribing antibiotics, or failure to prescribe the correct antibiotic for the infection
- Not recognizing the seriousness or extent of the infection
- Failure to treat the infection promptly
- Not starting antibiotics before performing surgery to reduce the risk of infection
- Not referring a patient with an infection to a specialist for infectious diseases
Infections Can Occur Even with Strict Healthcare Protocols
Even in healthcare facilities with strict infection-prevention procedures, incidents of treatment-resistant infection could occur. For example, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common antibiotic-resistant infection that can be especially dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream, lungs, or urinary tract.
Staph infections are another common form of HAI. It’s easily transmitted from person to person and can survive on cloth and other surfaces. Although many people are staph infection carriers, if someone has a wound or surgical incision, the infection may create boils or an abscess. Left untreated, staph can have deadly complications.
Other common HAI may be caused by Enterococci bacteria, commonly transmitted through the insertion point of a catheter or blood draw. Clostridium difficile, or C-Diff, is bacteria located in the GI tract. A dangerous C-Diff imbalance can occur if a patient is on antibiotics.
Failure to Prevent Infection May Be Malpractice
Many HAIs are preventable if the proper sterilization procedures are followed. Carelessness with sanitation may be considered medical malpractice. Infections are also usually treatable. Failure to treat or properly treat an infection could be malpractice.
If you contract an infection due to the carelessness or negligence of a healthcare provider, you may be able to file a malpractice claim. To establish malpractice, your New York medical malpractice lawyer must prove all of the following:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship established by receiving treatment or by agreement
- The healthcare professional breached their professional duty of care
- This breach directly caused your injuries or worsened your medical condition (like contracting an infection)
- You experienced loss because of the injury. (Such as higher medical bills for additional treatment and intangible losses, like pain and suffering)
Medical malpractice cases require expert witness testimony. A medical expert witness must confirm that there is a valid basis for a malpractice action to proceed. The expert must attest to the professional standard duty of care and pinpoint where the defendant’s treatment provider deviated from accepted standard patient care and infection prevention or treatment.
Medical Malpractice Cases Require Specialized Knowledge
Your New York medical malpractice lawyer doesn’t just need to be well-versed in New York medical malpractice law. They also need to have a strong knowledge of medical practices, terms, and patient care.
While you are not required to have a lawyer to seek compensation for medical malpractice, you’ll have less stress and confusion, and greater chances of success, when a qualified New York medical malpractice firm represents you. Rest assured, the medical facility where you contracted the HAI and your medical caregiver will be well-protected by an entire legal team and an insurance company with lawyers to protect its interests. You can level the playing field by hiring your own lawyer to represent your interests and negotiate fair and full compensation for your losses.
How Our New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
The first step in pursuing compensatory damages in a failure to prevent or treat infection malpractice suits is determining that you contracted the infection while under the doctor’s care or at a healthcare facility. Your attorney will investigate the facility’s sanitation protocols and gather evidence that they were not followed, which led to your contracting an HAI.
Your lawyer may then send a demand Letter to the doctor, facility, and insurance company stating the extent of your injuries. A lawsuit may be filed at the same time. You only have two years and six months to file a lawsuit under New York’s Statute of Limitations.
Most NY medical malpractice suits are settled out of court in structured negotiations or mediation. Your attorney can represent you in these negotiations, fighting for the maximum allowable compensation for your losses. Should these negotiations fail, or if the insurance company disputes the facts of the case, the case can go to trial.
Harris Keenan & Goldfarb medical malpractice attorneys are tenacious litigators with decades of combined experience arguing cases before New York judges and juries.
Have You Contracted an HAI In a New York Medical Care Facility?
Have you or a loved one contracted an infection or had a medical care professional fail to treat your infection properly? Harris Keenan & Goldfarb, experienced New York medical malpractice attorneys, offer a case review to help you learn more about your legal options following injury from a hospital-acquired infection. Call 800-724-6529 today.