Personal Injury Newsletter

  • Liability in Accidents Involving Traffic Violations
    When a vehicle accident results in damage, injury, or death, the party whose carelessness (negligence) caused the accident may be held financially liable, in whole or in part, for the damages and injuries sustained. The process of... Read more.
  • Families & Lawsuit Immunity
    Over the years, intra-family immunity from lawsuits against other family members developed; “parental immunity” and “spousal immunity.” Some have suggested that these immunities were part of a body of rules that... Read more.
  • Photography and Individual Rights
    The right of a photographer to sell or commercially exploit a picture of a stranger depends on numerous factors. Much will depend on whether the subject’s consent was obtained. Further, the subject of the photograph might have a... Read more.
  • Medical Liens and Filing Proper Notice
    A person injured in an accident caused by the negligence or fault of another may eventually be able to recover damages from the person at fault. However, accident injuries usually require immediate treatment. If the injured party lacks... Read more.
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Successful Surgery But Deadly Hospital-Acquired Infection

A nosocomial infection, or hospital-acquired infection, is an infection that was contracted in a hospital. Such infections can be the result of many different factors including poorly sterilized equipment, defective equipment design (not allowing for proper cleaning) or hospital staff negligence. As with any medical malpractice claim, several aspects must be scrutinized to determine liability.

Hospital-Acquired Infections – More Common Than Car Accident Fatalities

Recent reports indicate that hospital-acquired infection fatalities are more common than car accident and fire and drowning fatalities combined. In fact, hospital-acquired infections are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory ailments.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that one out of every twenty people admitted to a hospital will get a nosocomial infection. This statistic indicates that each year two million infections will occur, leading to approximately 90,000 deaths. Over 2,500 babies each year contract fatal hospital acquired infections. As such, infection control is a major issue amongst medical practitioners.

Often times nosocomial infections can easily be prevented. Measures such as washing hands between patients or implementing careful systematic equipment cleaning procedures can prevent an unnecessary infection. Understaffed hospitals are also a major concern for effective infection control.

Analyzing a Hospital-Acquired Infection Claim

If a hospital or surgical team is found liable for an infection acquired by a patient due to negligence, the legal ramifications can be severe. Consequently, thorough analysis of nosocomial infection claims is imperative. Rules and procedures for the analysis of such a claim will differ from state to state, but will generally adhere to the following format:

  • A hospital or surgical team committed an error in the plan to reduce infection exposure
  • A reasonable hospital or surgical team would not have committed such an error
  • The error was the cause of the resulting infection

Additional factors will also be examined, including the reason for the original hospital visit, the risk of the type of infection contracted by the patient, the risk of contraction of each individual patient and steps taken to reduce exposure to infection.

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