Seattle Hospital Acquired Infection Attorney
Fighting Medical Malpractice in Washington
While the number of hospital acquired infections, or Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) as they are also called, has declined in the last couple decades, they are still a major concern for anyone seeking medical care. These are infections caused by exposure to a healthcare environment, such as a hospital, or due to a medical procedure like major or minor surgery. Any of these infections can not only risk your health, but often require additional time in a hospital or ongoing treatment.
We trust our doctors and healthcare providers to give us a safe place to receive treatment and get better. Without proper care, however, it is possible for treatment to introduce external factors that can ultimately make us even sicker. Not all cases of HAIs are necessarily medical malpractice, but it is possible that any given infection could have been the result of negligence. That is why you need an experienced, knowledgeable Seattle medical malpractice attorney on your side to look at your situation and determine what has happened. If you or a loved one has suffered from a hospital acquired infection, call us at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today at Toll Free (888) 228-3860.
What are Healthcare-Associated Infections?
Healthcare-Associated Infections, which include those acquired during treatment at a hospital, are infections associated with devices used in medical procedures. There are quite a few different ways in which these infections can occur, all of which are typically preventable. These infections can be very dangerous since they attack the potentially already weakened immune system of a hospital patient.
Most infections come from either "endogenous" or "exogenous" sources. Endogenous sources are those already within the body. For example, numerous types of microorganisms naturally exist in certain parts of the human body. During surgery, if a surgeon is not careful, bacteria from one part of the body can be introduced to another area where it does not belong. Exogenous sources are those outside the body of a patient, like bacteria in a hospital which can enter through a medical device such as a catheter or ventilator.
The Most Common Types of Infections
Although numerous sorts of infections can occur during medical treatment, four types in particular are the most common:
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI): These types of infections cause thousands of deaths every year and are typically preventable. A central line is a type of catheter placed by a doctor in a large vein in the neck, chest, or groin of a patient to deliver medication, usually in intensive care. A CLABSI occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream of a patient through the central line. If healthcare providers fail to follow proper, strict protocols to keep the line sterile during insertion, dressing, and line checks, then an infection can occur. Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI): Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common type of healthcare-associated infections reported, and refer to any infection that affects the urinary system. As many as 25% of hospitalized patients receive a urinary catheter during their stay. A CAUTI is typically caused by prolonged use of a urinary catheter, so it is important that hospital staff use them only as long as necessary.
- Surgical Site Infection (SSI): As the name suggests, SSIs are infections that occur after surgery in the party of the body where the surgery was performed. These infections can be fairly minor and only on the surface level, or beneath the skin and affect organs or implanted medical devices. Proper care and use of antibiotics is usually required to treat these infections, so immediate and correct diagnosis is vital.
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP): Ventilators are machines used to help patients breathe by providing oxygen through a tube. If germs enter the tube and get into a patient's lungs, then pneumonia may occur. There are numerous steps hospitals can take to avoid VAP, including sanitization and sterilization procedures, and monitoring patient breathing while keeping a patient's head elevated properly.
Was my Infection Caused by Medical Malpractice?
This is a difficult question to answer, and really depends on the specific details of your case. Medical malpractice is one of the hardest things to prove in a civil claim, because so many factors are involved in any situation. To prove malpractice you must establish that a medical professional was negligent in some way and acted contrary to what another reasonable doctor would have done. Research and expert testimony is typically required for such a case, which is why you need an experienced Seattle hospital malpractice lawyer by your side.
If your Doctors have let you down, Call us Today!
Do not suffer in silence if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an infection that most likely came from your healthcare provider. Call us at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today at Toll Free (888) 228-3860. Tell us about your case and we can discuss your options.